Today’s world of television is one of the most disastrous places for our child’s minds to visit unfortunately. There is so much violence, that it is no wonder more and more parents are becoming increasingly alarmed at the material their children are being subjected to. Violence, nudity and foul language, are just a handful of the negative aspects television has to offer.
There is something you, as a parent, can do about it, however. One of the best things that you can do is immediately get involved!
Establish rules for watching television. Some parents have found that by limiting the amount of time their children are allowed to view t.v., they felt they had more control over the problem.
It is important that every person in the family agree to stick with the rules put into place.
Watch t.v. as a family. This is a great way to select family-friendly shows that can be of interest to everyone. It is also an incredible opportunity to spend time together and enjoy one another’s company.
When your child watches too much t.v., explain exactly why you feel it is wrong, what they should do, and why.
Sit down with your children and make a list of approved shows and movies. Let your child tell you what their favorite programs are, and do your research before allowing them to be added to the list.
Make a family-friendly t.v. guide showing which programs are on at which time. This will not only help you monitor what your children are watching, but it is a great tool when scheduling the chores your children are responsible for.
Writing a contract with your child also helps. It should be a written agreement that your child will watch only the shows that you have approved. Have your child sign his/her name, decorate or color the contract and display it next to the television.
Help your child prioritize favorite t.v. programs in order to watch only one or two favorite programs each day.
Attempt to interest your child in activities other than watching t.v. You can do this by allowing your child to invite friends over after school, or getting the family involved in a game of backyard football.
Have your child earn time to watch t.v. by completing their homework or other chores and responsibilities around the house.
If you have more than one child, alternate permissive t.v. watching from day to day. “Sally is allowed to watch one hour of her favorite t.v. shows today, and you may watch one hour of your favorite shows tomorrow.”
Do not accidentally reinforce your child for watching t.v. by serving snacks, meals, etc., in front of the t.v.
Be a good role model, and refrain from excessive t.v. watching yourself. View only the amount you expect your child to watch each day.
Allow natural consequences to occur, such as your child losing the privilege to watch t.v. because he/she did not complete their homework or do his/her chores.
If your child is going to watch t.v., encourage viewing educational shows by setting the channel to an educational station or renting an educational video tape.
Watch t.v. with your child. Many children would rather watch a more “boring” flick with a parent than a more “exciting” show all alone.
Do not reinforce your child’s less desirable t.v. habits by having every movie and music video channel that cable offers.
Be sure to let baby-sitters, grandparents, and other adults who may be supervising your child, exactly how much t.v. watching you allow in your home. Ask them to ensure that your child sticks to the rules.
Set aside time each evening whenthe t.v. will be turned off for the family to read, talk, etc.
Do not provide the t.v. as a baby-sitter for your child. Provide games, play dough, coloring books, etc, for entertainment.
Establish a family movie night, where you can rent family oriented movies that everyone can enjoy together.
Another great way to eliminate the “t.v. monster”, is to create a night of the week when the t.v. will remain off th eentire night. This would be a great night to play board games as a family or spend the early evening at the park. It is important that you take charge and limit the amount of television your child watches. Excessive exposure to television may cause extreme over stimulation for your child, making it more difficult for them to wind down at the end of the day, less likely to fall asleep, and may even cause nightmares. Remember that the television should never take the place of good parenting.