Most of the Paediatric Societies discourages screen-based activities (TV, video games, hand-held devices, etc) in all children under 2. The daily limit for TV watching for older children is 1 to 2 hrs.
The lesser amount of television a child watches is best for them. If your child watches excessive television then it can affect your child’s sleep, cause behaviour problems, and leaves less time for active play. The free time left should be used for other quality family activities like reading, visiting museums, walking, biking, or whatever one enjoys.
These small tips can help promote good TV habits in the house and so it protects the child from negative influences of television.
Tips for the whole family
- Good television habits in children should be started from young days as when the child grows older it becomes very hard to enforce rules and set time limits.
- Parents are the role model for there children so enculcate good habits and watch good and moral enhancing shows.
- Children should be encouraged to watch programs that help teach such as shows about nature, science, the arts, music or history.
- The rules of TV watching should be explained to all the caregivers such as nannies or grandparents. Teach your children to tell elders when they are afraid to watch a program.
- Violence should be a big no as it will also later on affect the childs behavior as a teen and an adult . They shouldn’t watch programs with violence, sex or bad language.
- Never use the TV as background noise , always turn it off when not watching it and while doing other activities like during meals and during study time.
- Television and video games should never be used in childrens bedrooms.
- Bedtime should always be fixed and it should never vary with television shows. You can always record the show and show it to the child during his off hours.
Tips for younger children (toddlers and preschoolers)
- Never use TV as a caregiver . Try to watch programs together with your child.
- Discuss the ideas and activities the child watches on the television shows ,such as sharing, giving, loving or doing the alphabet together. Follow up on all these activities and teach why these things are important.
- Maintain a recorded library of your child’s favourite shows—as they love to watch the same programs over and over again.
Tips for older children (school-aged children)
- Always supervise the choice of your child and plan a weekly viewing schedule.
- Always talk about the difference between reality , fantasy and make-believeAlways talk to your child about the programmes they are viewing and try to explain why they cant watch some shows
- Always try to fast forward advertising if the show has been recorded . If the child is watching a show try to explain about advertisement and tell them that it is a tool for selling or promoting toys and products
- Don’t permit television during the school week. Make a rule that homework and chores must be finished before your child can watch television.