TV Addict, who loves watching television or is commonly known as the idiot box? However, if there’s no parental guidance, it can expose them to inappropriate messages about violence and sex. And when these kids spend a lot of time watching TV, they’ll not only be addicted but also, they’ll tend towards adopting a sedentary lifestyle. Nevertheless, with parental guidance, watching TV can be educational and will open up the child’s mind and mold it into one that can see an issue from many perspectives.
Tips to help you optimize the benefits and cut down the negativities of watching television on your kids.
Cut down your kids’ TV time
- Set a time of saying no more than two hours per day for kids above 2 years. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than two hours of watching good TV programs per day for kids. They caution against letting children younger than two years old watch TV and parents should instead spend more time bonding with them because parent-child interaction brings more benefits to their mental development.
- Set a rule that homework and other tasks are to be done first. Let your kids know that school, chores, and exercise take priority over TV. Strike a balance between the times spent watching TV and activities that will develop other aspects of their lives.
- Allow one show at one sitting. Ask your kids to choose the programs they like to watch. If there isn’t any specific program that your family intends to watch, keep the television switched off.
Choosing good quality programs suitable for kids
- Check out TV ratings. TV ratings are no substitute for parental judgment, but they can be helpful guides. TV ratings provide parental guidelines on the content and age-appropriateness of the various programs.
The rating symbol appears as a box in the top left corner of the screen at the start of a program and it’ll normally re-appear every hour for longer programs.
- Utilize V-Chip. The V-Chip is a device fixed into most television sets manufactured after the year 2008. The chip reads the TV ratings and helps parents filter out inappropriate programs. However, remember that even with the ratings and the chips, parents must still use their own discretion to check out cartoon programs that may be objectionable.
- Seek out quality programs. It’s easier than ever to find high-quality programs that can help stimulate your child’s interest in reading and other activities. Visit the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) or borrow educational videos from your library. Record valuable programs and watch them in your own free time.
Other TV Viewing Tips
- Watch TV together as a family. It can be hard for working parents to spend enough time with their kids, so watching TV can be a rewarding family activity. You’ll also be able to keep track of what your kids watch and discuss the program with them.
- Discuss what your kids saw on TV. If a program is about good values that would help in your kids’ development, use it as an opportunity to discuss them further to reinforce the good values. You can impress upon them the virtues of having good values in their lives by telling them real similar cases.
- Lead by example. You’ll be more credible with your kids if you limit your own time watching TV. Show to them that there’s more to life than just watching TV. For instance, make use of your free time for reading, outdoor activities, and pursuing other hobbies.
- Cut out the Ads. Advertising can influence your kids in a big way and you should reduce their exposure to commercials. You can get around this by recording their favorite programs minus the commercials. It’s also good if you can tell your kids how the commercials influence people’s perceptions, especially the young ones.
- Limit snacking. Try to discourage snacking while watching TV. If your kids like to have some snacks, make them healthy snacks like fresh fruits or yogurts.