The National Institutes of Health estimates that most children spend 3 hours a day watching television and an additional hour or two in front of the computer, an amount of time they have deemed unhealthy. The NIH says too much screen time can lead to obesity, create anxiety, depression, or attention problems, and even cause sleep issues, and children under 2 years old should not have any screen time during the day while children over 2 should only have an hour or two. That's a lot less than many families currently allow.

So, how can you cut down on screen time? It's takes discipline for parents, who often use television as a temporary babysitter while cooking dinner, paying bills, and getting chores done around the house.

Here are some tips:

Turn It Off

The simplest answer is often the best answer. In this case, just turn off the television. If your kids protest, then you're probably watching too much TV.

Get Organized

If you can get your stuff done while the kids are napping or in school that will free up valuable time to spend as a family playing with toys, playing games, exercising, or taking part in other activities. If you don't turn the television on, chances are your kids won't ask for it.

Do More Stuff Outside

Sure, it's a challenge and you have to do more prep work like making sure you've got sun protection, bug spray, drinks, snacks, and other items. But the rewards are endless. Pick up some outdoor games or toss a ball around. Take a family bike ride or commit to visiting a local park at least once a week. The less time you spend indoors, the less tempted you'll be to turn on the tube.

Give Kids a Television Schedule

Limit television watching to one hour in morning and hour at night. Tell them this is the new rule and don't bend.

No Televisions/Computers in Bedroom

This is a no-brainer but it bears repeating. Children are unable to make smart choices when it comes to how much television they should be viewing or how much time they should spend on Facebook. They do not need a television or computer in their room. When it comes to smart phones, remember that they are a privilege and not a right. If your kids are not obeying the house rules, take the smart phone away.

No Screen Time for Anyone

Set "no screen time" zones during meals or designated family time. These times are sacrosanct and should be free of television, tablet, computer, and smartphone usage. If you have to have a "screen basket" that everyone puts items into, so be it. The best thing you can do is set a good example and put your phone away. That will send a powerful message to your children.

Manage their usage. You pay for their phone. You pay the cable bill. You pay for the internet use. If your kids refuse to abide by your rules, take away their phones, tablets or television. It's that simple.