Here are some practical ways to help your kids build good TV-watching skills:
*Limit the number of TV-watching hours by coming up with a family TV schedule that should be strictly enforced. This means you will have to check the programme schedule of the respective TV channels and determine—in conjunction with your kids—the ones that your kids can watch and when. Then make sure to turn off the TV when the “scheduled” programme is over. If you want to continue with watching, ensure that the kids return to their rooms before you proceed.
*Outside the time for the scheduled programme, and when you are not watching TV yourself, the tube should be switched off. Establish a standing rule in your home that kids are not to switch on the TV on their own
*Stock the house with plenty of other non-screen entertainment materials (books, kids’ magazines, toys, puzzles, board games, etc.) to encourage kids to do something other than watch the tube.
*Keep TVs out of bedrooms. Keeping TV in children’s room amounts to giving them license to get hooked to it, because you are not able to monitor or regulate the amount of TV and types of programmes that they watch. Unbridled TV-watching is not healthy for children as it causes sleep problems and impact negatively on their performance in school.
Children with televisions in their bedrooms score lower grades in school tests and exams. Also, having a television in the bedroom is strongly associated with a higher risk of the child turning out to be a smoker.
*Set a good example by limiting your own TV viewing. Children learn mostly by watching. So don’t underestimate the power of modeling. Model moderate use of Television so your children will see clearly that you are not addicted to it but use it appropriately. If you don’t show self-discipline when it comes to watching TV, don,t expect that your children will. Instead of sitting in front of the tube for long hours, you should spend your free time reading, exercising, talking or playing games with your children.
*Children should watch TV only when you or some other adult are home. Even when it is time for the scheduled programme that you have all agreed upon, it is always better if there is someone sitting through the programme with the kids.
*Anytime you watch TV together, talk to your kids about what they see on TV and share your own beliefs and values. If something you don’t approve of appears on the screen or is portrayed in a movie, endeavour to raise it as a point of discussion with your kids. This way, you will help them know what is appropriate and what is inappropriate—especially on issues such as: sex, love, dating, family, alcohol, smoking, dressing, relationships, work, service, sacrificial giving e.t.c.
TERVEL T KEJIH is an Entrepreneur, Life Success Consultant and Author who exudes great passion for effective parenting, educational development, individuals’ career success and entrepreneurship development. In addition to the responsibilities of the day-to-day running of his businesses, he researches and develops tools and resources that would aid individuals who look to achieve success in these four areas of life. For his resources/articles on parenting and family life, visit: www.tutorsperexcellence.com/blog. He could be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org