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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


Teaching appropriate TV Habits to your children - Useful techniques and suggestions

By Andrew Loh

Excessive TV watching may be detrimental to your children's normal brain growth and development. On the contrary, controlled and meaningful TV habits could be helpful. If not controlled, children tend to develop an obsession to television and its flashy programs. Therefore, you may need to keep a constant watch on your children's TV time. Here are some of the simple, yet effective techniques that can teach better TV habits to your children.

Limiting the time for TV watching - Parents may need to exercise their parental rights to control their children, the number of hours they watch TV programs. This is perhaps the best possible solution to control your children. Create a strict and rigid rulebook that establishes daily TV routines.

Keep the TV in an open area - Never ever, keep the TV in an enclosed area, away from your sight. A remote TV can be a time bomb.

Offer better alternatives that promote education and learning - If you enforce NO TV rule in a rigid manner, children may show their frustration, sadness and disillusion. To prevent this eventuality, you may need to offer better alternatives that promote quicker learning process. Some of the better alternatives are family board games, puzzles, playtime in a public park or even a good family themed movie. When your children learn how to live without the tube, then they will show an inclination to learn at an accelerated pace.

Do not keep TV in bed and dining room - TV in a bed or dining room will spoil your children's daily routines. It could derail children's sleeping patterns or it could even spoil their eating habits. Make sure that you turn off TV during lunch or dinner hours.

Disallow TV while your children are busy with their schoolwork - Never ever, allow your children watch TV, when they are doing their homework or school project work.

Make TV a privilege and not a right - Your children should earn their time to watch TV programs. TV time should not become a right for your children. You may need to establish TV viewing rules. Preferably, TV should become a family utility for everyone in the home.

Enforce a NO-TV Day rule - You can try a weekday TV ban. Make sure that no one watches TV on this day. Instead, you can take your children to a local library or public park. Ensure that you reserve this day for activities or schedules that can enhance their intellect and intelligence.

Check programs and their timings - Check the daily TV program schedule, before you switch on the TV. The programs you choose for watching should be fit and safe enough for the entire family. Appropriate TV programs could include educational programs, plays, animal and nature shows or even good cartoons.

Talk to your children about the ill effects of watching too much TV - Talk to your children about what they should watch on TV, which program they should avoid and how to use the time in a productive way. Share your beliefs and values about TV. If inappropriate content appears on any of the channels of the TV, you can ask them to turn off the TV or switch to another channel that shows proper content. If children insist on watching something inappropriate, like a fight or an argument, ask some intricate questions like:

  • Do you think that it is right for those people to fight on the TV?

  • What else they could have done to avoid fighting?

Note: Some TV programs could depict alcoholism, violence, prejudices and racial stereotypes. If your children are watching such shows, you can ask them to turn off the TV and do something else.

Similar rules and regulations should also apply, when you bring home movie DVDs. Rent only those DVDs that promote learning and personality development. If you want to offer your children relaxation or playtime, give them an opportunity to watch some of the greatest cartoon classical movies from Disney world.

The quantum of influence TV has on children will depend on several factors, like the time taken to watch the TV shows, children's age and personality types, their preferences and whether they watch the program alone or with their parents. Whatever the case, parents will need to keep a tab on children and their TV habits. It is better to be on safer side, than allowing your children possibly developing an infatuation or intoxication for the TV (perhaps idiot box?).


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