Children and T.V.

Does your child eat his meals in front of the television set? Do you leave the TV on all day in your house, even if it's just to keep you company? Do you find yourself throughout the day suggesting to your child that he go and watch TV? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, chances are, your child is watching too much television.

Studies have long shown that, in fact, children spend more time during their childhood watching television than they do in school! This is a trend that we, as parents, must reverse if we want to see our children enjoy school success. Watching TV is a passive activity. It discourages communication and interaction. Children who watch great deal of television are not engaged in important activities that help them to develop and learn. Additionally, some TV programs promote bad language and violence and expose children to explicitly sexual behavior.

Fortunately, there are a few simple things that you, the parent, can do to remedy the situation. To begin with, have firm rules about watching TV. Allow television viewing only during a few specific hours each day. When TV time is over...turn off the TV set!

Use TV as a tool to help your child grow. Pick out the shows that your child can watch. Choose high quality educational programs. Watch public television shows. Choose G rated videos for times when there are no appropriate children's shows to view. Be sure to check your local library's collection. And, as often as you can, watch shows with your child so that you can discuss what happens on the show - how people treat each other and how they solve their problems.

Avoid programs with violence! Violent TV shows actually scare young children. They begin to worry that disastrous events, even ones which are highly unlikely, may happen to them. Violent television shows wrongfully teach children that violence is a part of every day, normal life and that physical and verbal aggression are appropriate ways to handle their frustrations and solve their problems. It teaches children that violence is ok. Additionally, children exposed to violence exhibit increased aggression and fears.

Turning off the TV set means that your child will have more time each day to engage in nurturing activities that will help him to learn and grow. Now, instead of suggesting the TV set when your child is looking for something to do, you can choose from the following list of activities:

blue moving musical notes

listen to music tapes
take a walk
go to the playground
have your child help with baking or cooking
set the table

bucket and pale on sand

go to the beach
invite a friend over to play
take out playdough
read a book
help with cleaning
visit a relative, friend, or neighbor

boy playing with toy cars

play outside
decorate for an upcoming holiday
play a board or card game
help an adult run an errand
go to the library

little girl hand painting

make a present or card for someone special
cut coupons from fliers
build with legos or blocks
make a picture with crayons or markers
paint with water colors