It’s hard to believe that by the time your child is in Kindergarten they have watched nearly 4,000 hours of TV. Experts agree, this is too much. However, banning TV altogether isn’t the answer. There are many age appropriate shows that can spark your child’s imagination and interests. As parents we should monitor not only the time children spend watching TV but the quality of the programming.
What You Can Do
Instead of letting your child have free reign with the remote you need to take into consideration your child’s age and choose shows that you want her to see. For example; Madalyn, age 7, loves to sing and dance. Picking shows that revolve around these concepts keeps her interested and she often sings and dances herself. It isn’t unusual for her to not learn the songs and sing them on her own.
Look for TV shows that
- teach your child something
- hold your child’s interest
- encourage them to participate
- teach new words and skills
- makes them feel good about themselves
- helps them solve problems
- get along with others
- introduces new ideas
It’s up to you to determine how much TV is too much, experts suggest no more than 2 hours per day however, that is completely up to you. For many parents even 2 hours seems like a lot of TV. Nevertheless, it is important to know how much time your child is spending watching TV so you can make the decision.
What to Do Instead of Watch TV
It is challenging to entertain children when they get home from school or during the weekend when it is pouring rain. Parents need to cook, clean and take care of their own needs. The key is to find the balance that works for you and your family. There are many things your child can do besides watch TV and a great way to discover what they are is to sit down together and brainstorm other activities.
Here is a list Madalyn drew up on her own
- Jump on the tramp
- Practice singing and dancing
- Help with dinner
- Read a book
- Art projects
- Play dress up
- Play with friends
- Use her Fisher-Price Fun-2-Learn Computer Cool School (really cool)
There are many things your child can do on her own to keep busy but it is still important to interact with her and have fun. Set a night of the week to go to the local library, play board games, a family movie night, play catch or have a tea party. TV shouldn’t be a substitute for raising your child but it can offer many different learning opportunities.