Many of our children spend lots of time in front of TV. They would have probably watched TV for a quarter of their age by the time they are ten years old if they spend average of 4 hours in front of TV weekdays and 12 hours on weekends starting from Friday night. Some children actually spend more than 42 hours a week in front of TV especially when schools are on vacation. That’s too much time that could be use for other things like homework, playing, interacting with family members, exercising, outdoor and indoor games, relaxing, sleeping e.t.c.
Watching TV late into the nights accounts for why some children would go to bed late from my what I gathered from my students in Sunday School class. Another reason why they would sleep late apart from watching TV is due to playing of games.
I have come up with a list of what has helped me to reduce the number of hours my boys spend in the front of the entertaining box. I will like to share them with you hoping they will help you. I will also like to hear from you about what is working for you.
- Lead by example. This is the best place to start because your children learn more from what you do than what you tell them. You can’t spend the whole moment in front of the box and expect your children to stay away;.
- Set and enforce a rule that will guide how long your children spend in front of TV. One of our rules is that there’s no TV on weekdays and minimal number of hours like 2 hours on weekends. There are times that we do not follow the rule to the letter but it’s better to have a guide so you know when you are falling out of line. Another rule is that no child goes to put on the TV without permission. Another rule guides channel that they could watch and so on and so forth.
- I don’t believe in having TV in children’s room and I believe this is helping us to achieve our aim for minimal time in front of TV. Some parents will not agree with this rule, please do whatever works for you but make sure you are the one truly in charge.
- Schedule the time they would have spent in front of TV for other activities. Be creative. You could give your child practise questions to help with school work, ask them to study times table for example, study memory verses, you could do art work together, spend time talking with them, buy books and encourage them to read them. I have discovered that my boys get more creative when there is no TV with the house more chaotic and messy but that’s better than having them prop up in front of TV. They also interact better with each other.
It is good to point out that watching TV is not bad. It is too much of it that is bad for us and our boys. There are many educational programmes that are very beneficial to children. Likewise, there are many programmes that are bad for them. The key things are moderation and supervision.
It is also good to know that early exposure of children below the age of 2 years to TV has been proven to lead to poor cognitive development. My advise to those who love to use TV to baby-sit is to look for alternatives or minimise the use of TV to the barest minimum.
What do you think? What is working for you? Let me
hear read your thoughts.