AFTER TOO MUCH TV
Compared to watching television,
almost any activity will stimulate greater intellectual development, nurture
the imagination, reduce cynicism, and foster a closer child-parent relationship.
Many if not most of today’s
parents were raised on TV themselves, so it’s not always self-evident
that you can parent any other way. Much less is it self-evident exactly
what to do instead of watching TV. In a nut shell, you can improve the
quality of your family’s life by 1) Controlling the TV in your home,
and 2) Providing alternative activities.
THE TV UNDER CONTROL
- Do not put a television
in a child’s room.
- Do not allow unsupervised
access to a TV.
- Set a maximum amount of
time that kids can watch TV each day or each week. (LimiTV Recommendation.)
- Make agreements with your
child on specific, acceptable programs, and specific time for viewing.
- Videotape and play programs
not broadcast at convenient times .
- Use logical consequences
when kids violate TV rules: take away all
- TV for a specified period
YOUR CHILDREN IN THE PLAN
- Discuss the reasons you
want to limit TV; ask their opinions about the benefits and ill-effects
- Set rules for acceptable
programming, and ask your child which shows fall in or out of that range.
- Make a list of the acceptable
shows together; let the child write the list.
- Set rules for the amount
of TV watched each day or each week.
- Some families give each
child 30 minutes a day, some children have four hours a weekend. Some
families let kids "pool" their minutes, other families count
any time spent staring at a TV screen towards the TV allotment.
- Discuss ground rules for
TV viewing at others’ houses.
GOOD TV BEHAVIOR FOR YOUR CHILDREN
If your TV is on all the time,
for viewing or background noise, this becomes the norm for your kids.
Prove that life is better without TV by enjoying what you do. (When your
child thinks back upon his childhood, do you really want most of his memories
to be of you sitting in front of the TV?)
OTHER TV RULES WITH FAR-REACHING BENEFITS
- Eat meals together, especially
dinner, with the television OFF. (Benefit: family learns to communicate.)
- Rooms must be straight before
the TV comes on (Benefit: your children may be more compliant about
cleaning when there’s a reward, and you will have a neater house.)
- All homework must be completed
before TV comes on. (Benefit: your child will finish his homework before
the last minute.)
- Turn off the television
while doing homework (Benefit: child’s grades will usually improve.)
- No TV if the sun is shining.
(Benefit: your child may learn to appreciate the outdoors if it’s
the only thing to do. At the least, she’ll learn how to check
on the weather.)
for Maximum Amount of Time Spent Watching TV by Children: LimiTV strongly
recommends that Children be permitted to watch a maximum of one hour of
TV on weekdays and 2 hours a day on weekends.