7 Ways To Help Children Develop Healthy TV Viewing Habits
I’m sure you wouldn’t ever think that watching TV and being healthy could be uttered in the same breath, would you? And you’d be completely right to think so too, as many researchers have studied and shown the harm screen-time can have on children. However, as it often happens with what we read on the internet, we may only have limited and superficial knowledge about this. These same researchers have also spoken about how TV viewing can also be good but when done in moderation.
As an example, a lot of thought went into developing Sesame Street to not just entertain, but aid in cognitive development in preschoolers. This is what makes visual art so special- it has the power to influence, and if we were to take that away from children, we’d be doing them great disservice indeed! The key to including some screen time every day is ‘moderation’.
1. Keep Program Mild
Just because they seem to be growing up so fast doesn’t mean children can enjoy everything that is on TV. There are channels such as Baby TV designed with content specific to the preschool age and designed around a daily schedule. As consistency is paramount for kids this age, small programs that have a screen time of no more than ten minutes are ideal.
2. Understand What Makes them Laugh
Kids emotions are not well developed. We never know what can make them laugh or cry. Laughter shows that they are able to grasp and understand are well suited for children.
3. Maintain Time Limits
This doesn’t have to be difficult for everyone. Before you begin watching a show, tell your kids for how long you intend to let them watch TV. Keep reminding them about time during show progress, so they grasp the concept.
4. Keep An Eye On The Content
We are never prepared for the kind of advertisements that can air on TV. Besides advertising that can tempt them, the quality of programs and their value should also be monitored.
5. Having A Conversation
It is ideal for parents to watch TV along with children, not as a way to keep an eye on them, but because kids just love talking about their experiences. Listening to how they felt about a program gives a better idea of what content to expose them to.
6. Taking It One Step Further
Instead of looking at TV as a babysitter or a welcome respite from questions, use it as a tool to educate. From picking up a new language to understanding simple concepts, there is a lot of good on TV that can be worked with.
7. Enjoy The Process
If kids aren’t allowed to watch TV at home, they’ll find ways to do it elsewhere. Isn’t it just better to regulate content where you can put limits in? Try and make TV viewing a positive experience for the entire family.
TV viewing isn’t a negative habit. Often, we use ‘removing the cable connection’ as a threat to control unacceptable behavior. Why? Because we don’t hesitate to blame the ‘idiot box’, and are aware that kids are dependent on TV for their entertainment. Instead of removing the connection, we probably need to manage the underlying addiction itself.
Most of our generation have picked up exceptional skills and languages like English from Cartoon Network. Why deprive our children them? Often, not letting children experience something has a far more damaging effect on them that regulated, pre-mediated exposure.