- General Info
- 1-3 Years Old
- 3-5 Years Old
- Take Charge of TV
Helping Your Child
Take Charge of TV
|By the time they begin
kindergarten, children in the United States have watched an average
of 4,000 hours of TV. Most child development experts agree that this
is too much. But banning TV from children's lives isn't the answer.
Good TV programs can spark children's curiosity and open up new
worlds to them. A better idea is for families and caregivers is to
monitor how much time their children spend watching TV and what
programs they watch.
Here are some tips that will help you monitor and guide your child's TV
- Think about your child's age and choose the types of things that you
want him to see, learn and imitate.
- Look for TV shows that,
- teach your child something,
- hold his interest,
- encourage him to listen and question,
- help him learn more words,
- make him feel good about himself and
- introduce him to new ideas and things.
- Keep a record of how many hours of TV your child watches each week and
what she watches. Some experts recommend that children limit their TV
watching to no more than 2 hours a day. However, it's up to you to decide
how much TV and what kinds of programs your child should watch.
- Learn about current TV programs, videos and DVDs and help your child
to select good ones. "Sesame Street," "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood,"
"Blue's Clues," "Between the Lions," "Reading Rainbow," "Barney &
Friends," "Zoom," and "Zoboomafoo," are some shows that you may want to
consider. Many other good children's programs are available on public
television stations and on cable channels such as the Disney Channel and
- If you have a VCR or DVD player, you may wish to seek out video
versions of classic children's stories and books, such as the Babar
stories and the Children's Circle series, "Stories for the Very Young" and
"More Stories for the Very Young." For your very young child, try the
"Baby Einstein" series.
- Parents' Choice, a quarterly review of children's media, including TV
programs and home video materials, can help you to choose titles that are
suitable for your child. (For more information, see the Parents' Choice
Web site: http://www.parents-choice.org/; or write to: Parents' Choice
Foundation, Suite 303, 201 West Padonia Road, Timonium, MD 21093.) You can
also read about programs in TV columns in newspapers and magazines. Cable
subscribers and public broadcasting contributors can check monthly program
guides for information.
- After selecting programs that are appropriate for your child, help him
decide which ones he wants to watch. Turn on the TV when one of these
programs starts and turn it off when the program ends.
- Watch TV with your child, so that you can answer questions and talk
about what she sees. Pay special attention to how she responds, so that
you can help her to understand what she's seeing.
- Follow-up TV viewing with activities or games. Have your child tell
you a new word that he learned from a TV program. Together, look up the
word in a dictionary and talk about its meaning. Or have him make up his
own story about one of his favorite characters from a TV program.
- Include the whole family in discussion and activities or games that
relate to TV programs.
- Go to the library and find books that explore the themes of the TV
shows that your child watches. Or help your child to use her drawings or
pictures cut from magazines to make a book based on a TV show.
- Make certain that TV isn't used as a babysitter. Instead, balance good
television with other enjoyable activities for your child.