Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated for Kids
I read an article recently addressing today’s kids’ TV habits. After I read it, I started experiencing all sorts of parental guilt, namely, because our pre-schoolers have become quite, shall we say, “attached” to Nick Jr. – and my husband and I often ponder the question of how this may be influencing the quality of their young lives. To be more specific, our boys are obsessed with “The Fresh Beat Band” and “Yo Gabba Gabba.” And although we only allow for TV watching on the weekends, they would love to spend their entire weekend watching recorded episodes of these two shows.
Well, this article talked about giving your kids “breaks” from the tube to remind them of all the glorious and fun activities they are otherwise missing out on! So this past weekend we kept television to a bare minimum and really encouraged them to take advantage of the abundance of books and toys and games that we have at home. We did have music playing throughout the house, in lieu of the television, and they really didn’t seem to miss it that much! It was a very cool experiment and I’m glad we tried it. My husband and I put our heads together and came up with a few simple tips if you’d like to try giving your kids a TV break as well:
- Be sure that the room with the TV has other entertainment such as books, magazines, toys, and puzzles, to encourage them to explore their options.
- Make sure your child has to ask permission to turn on the television, just as they must ask to go out to play or to go to someone’s house.
- Enforce a “No TV during meals” rule, and really stick to it!
- Set a good example by limiting your own TV viewing.
- Get in the habit of turning the television off after a selected program is over, in order to set time limits for any TV-watching.
These days it seems that kids have forgotten what the backyard looks like or the park across the street. While there are certainly quality educational programs on TV that help advance your child academically, a break for “family time” is just as necessary. If it seems your child is glued to the TV all the time, it may be time to take back control and give them a new lease on life that doesn’t revolve around the box. That’s what we did, and so far (*fingers crossed*) it seems to be going quite well for our boys.