Monitoring and Curbing Your Child's Television Habits

February 04, 2014

Television. It's probably on in your house all the time -- while you get the kids ready for school, while you prepare dinner before you go to bed. But have you thought about the types of activities and ideas you're letting in your home through television? Have you thought about how this medium could be hurting your children?

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Here's 8 things parents like us should do:

  1. Set limits. Limit your child's use of TV, movies and video and computer games to no more than one hour or two per day. Do not let your child watch while doing homework.

  2. Plan your child's viewing. Instead of flipping through channels, use a program guide and the TV ratings to help you and your child choose shows. Turn the TV on to watch the program you chose and turn it off when the program is over.

  3. Watch TV with your child whenever possible. Explain that characters on TV are make-believe and not real. Some "reality-based" programs may appear to be "real", but most of these shows focus content is not appropriate for children.

  4. Find the right message. Talk with your child about the real-life roles of women, senior citizens, and people of other races that may not be shown on television. Help your child learn tolerance and respect for others.

  5. Help your child resist commercials. Don't expect your child to be able to resist ads for toys., candy, snacks, cereal, drinks or new TV programs without your help. When your child asks for products advertised on TV, explain that the purpose of commercials is to make people want things they may not need.

  6. Look for quality children's videos. There are many quality videos available for children that you can buy or rent.

  7. Give other options. Watching TV can become a habit for your children. Help your children find other things to do with their time, such as playing, reading, participating in activities with family, friends or neighbors; learning a hobby, sport, instrument, or an art.

  8. Set a good example.

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics

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