Television is an excellent entertainment and learning source, but watching it too much can be bad for your child’s development. Many parents struggle to put into place television watching schedules, especially as children get older.
To help you put a television schedule into place, here are a few handy hints and tips.
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Set A Good Example
Children tend to follow the behaviors of their parents, so as the parent you need to set a good example for them. If you limit your own television time each day and take part in other tasks, such as reading a book or doing the gardening, they are more likely to follow suit.
Be In Charge
No matter how hard it is to limit how much television your child watches, remember that you are the parent. It is your job to look after them and protect them from unhealthy behaviors, such as watching too much television. Explain to your child why you have made the decision that you have. By explaining and giving them a reason, they are more likely to be able to relate to this as a positive experience.
Have Set Television Times
Get your child into a routine that allows them to know when it is television time and when it is time for other activities. For example, if you allow them to watch one hour of children’s programs after school each day and two hours each Saturday morning, they will get into this routine and respect it.
If your children are older and able to use the television themselves then it may necessary to physically shut the television off and put the controllers away. You can buy units that allow you to lock the television system and controls safely away. To have a look at the cost of various systems, check out The TV Shield. Although these products are more for security reasons, they would also work well as a way to limit children’s television viewing times.
Encourage Your Children To Participate In Other Activities
Enroll your child into a different after school activity each day. This will keep them active and away from the television. For times when there are no after school activities create a play crate for them, fill it with books, board games, cards, arts and craft supplies, and sports equipment. To keep them interested ensure that from time to time you vary the books and games.
To help keep younger children entertained, join them as they play. Encourage them to be creative and give them all the resources they need to do so. LEGO is a great tool for encouraging them to get creative, and best of all, it can keep a child occupied for hours.
Baking is another fantastic way to keep the children occupied and away from the television set. Set aside one afternoon a week or one morning on the weekend as your weekly baking slot. Each week try a new recipe or idea.
If your child is finding it hard to adjust to watching less television each day, don’t get angry. Sit down with them and ask them if there is anything that they would rather do instead. Perhaps there is a new hobby they’ve been wanting to try or a new board game they have been waiting to play. Change isn’t always easy, especially with children. But in the end, it will be worthwhile.