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A Quick Guide To Managing Family TV Time

October 5th, 2016 by Irwin Fletcher Comments

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Watching favorite TV shows together as a family is a good way to spark conversations because there is a shared interest. While, of course, it should not be the only way a family bonds and establishes memories, don’t rule it out just because other people use TV time as a form of escapism. When done in moderation and with some discrimination as to what programs children watch, it can be a fun way of spending quality time.

Building Memories

It’s said that a family that plays together stays together. Often fathers and sons bond through the medium of sports. While it’s fun to toss passes in the backyard, it’s also fun to spend Sundays watching live games on Directv. It’s not just the men in the house who enjoy the game; mothers and sisters can get pretty enthusiastic about a home team, too. When your children grow up, these memories of watching great games together will keep the family together even through the most challenging of times.

If you’re a sporting family, watching sports shows can inspire your little ones to get involved in sports and playing a game.

Preventing TV From Dominating Family Life

Still, too much of a good thing can create problems. For instance, a wonderful home cooked meal is a good thing, but eating delicious food all the time can create weight management problems. Another example is studying for academic success. While it’s a good thing your child shows a keen interest in doing well in school, it can be problematic if your child never spends any time playing with friends. Overdoing an interest in homework and getting good grades can turn a promising student into someone with poor social skills. Similarly, while a little TV watching is a convenient form of entertainment, too much TV watching is not in your family’s best interests.

As a parent, you need to draw guidelines on when your children can watch television.

Drawing Guidelines

Without guidelines, it’s easy for children to become addicted to TV and fail to develop balanced lives.

Here are 7 suggestions:

1. Limit viewing. According to AAP guidelines, parents should limit their children’s viewing time to one hour a night on school days and two hours a day on weekends. Exceptions can be made if there is a special education program, the time can be increased, and if a child is doing poorly in school, the time can be reduced.

2. Set priorities. There should be rules for when it’s okay to watch TV.

·  After meals, so the family can enjoy lunch or dinner conversations.
·  After homework, so a child learns about how to make academic achievement a priority.
·  After chores, so a child learns to take responsibility.
In the event that a favorite show is playing during these times, the show can be recorded to watch later.

3. Encourage reading. While TV can be educational and entertaining, you should also show children that they can get great value from reading, too. Reading may be less exciting, but the wisdom of the ages are recorded in books. You can show your children the value of reading by reading aloud to them and by setting an example.

4. Don’t make TV important. Avoid using TV as a way of rewarding or punishing behavior. This causes TV to be overvalued because children now think that they have to earn their TV time.

5. Introduce recreational ideas. Demonstrate that recreation can also be active. Watching TV and reading books are not the only things your children can do when they have free time. Teach them the value of going for a walk, playing a sport, enjoying board games, pursuing a hobby, or listening to music.

6. Avoid using TV for babysitting. If you have preschool children, you may be tempted to use TV to distract your children while you catch up on some things that you need to get done like working from home, paying bills, or doing housework. There are many other alternatives to keep them occupied like giving them a puzzle or doing art with crayons. You can also arrange with other mothers in the neighborhood to set up playdates for your young ones.

7. Keep TV out of your children’s bedroom. Don’t let your children have a TV set in their own room. While many children below the age of 8 do have TVs in their bedrooms, there are 3 good reasons why this is not a good thing:

You can’t monitor when they watch or what they watch

Children are much less likely to do their homework when they are tempted to watch TV.
Research has also shown that children with TV in their rooms tend to have sleep problems.

Educate Your Children about TV

Finally, since children are so impressionable, the lines between what they see on TV and real life can blur. When watching a TV show with your child, you can educate them about the consequences of violence in real life, stereotypes in some shows, and how commercials are sales pitches – not informed recommendations. It’s important that children understand that TV is make-belief, and that it’s not the same as reality. Without your active interpretation, children automatically assume that what they’re seeing mirrors how the world works because they have not yet learned reasoning skills.

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I'm an LA journalist who really lives for his profession. I have also published work as Jane Doe in various mags and newspapers across the globe. I normally write articles that can cause trouble but now I write for FTN because Nerds are never angry, so I feel safe.

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