We’ve all been guilty of plopping the kids in front of the “boob tube” in an effort to get something done around the house. After all, the television keeps them occupied in ways that no toy can. So when you need to catch up on things in the home office, clean the house, or cook dinner, sometimes it’s just easier to turn on the TV and get it done. The only problem is, some of the things they show on television today is more than you want your children to watch.
Now television doesn’t have to be a negative thing for kids. What they watch and how you enhance the experience can make a huge difference in how they behave and what they take away from each show or movie. I found that making television more of an educational resource and experience makes all the difference in the world.
1. Select a TV Plan With Great Channels
It’s not so much how long they watch television as it is what they’re watching. When it comes to making TV time more educational, it is important to have a good channel lineup. Check with your TV service provider to see which packages have the most beneficial channels. Channels like National Geographic, Discovery, PBS, and Sprout are all very kid friendly and very educational.
If you don’t have those channels or can’t seem to find an affordable package with educational channels, you may want to look into switching providers. Satellitetv-deals.com gives information on Phoenix, Santa Fe, Baton Rouge, and Houston satellite TV providers (as well as other qualifying cities).
2. Set Parental Controls
If you have older children in the home or you allow your children to watch television in their room, parental controls can help ensure that they don’t turn to channels they should not be viewing. Parental controls can easily be placed on the television set by clicking the menu button on your remote and searching through the various settings and features. They allow you to determine the amount of time a child can watch (set a timer), and you can also block certain channels or shows and movies rated a certain age.
3. Watch it With Them
When you’re introducing new shows to your children it is a good idea to watch it with them the first few times. While a show may seem kid friendly, sometimes you’ll find that there is information that you’d rather not have them exposed to. Watching the show with them gives you the opportunity to ensure it is age appropriate, and also gives you the chance to answer any questions your child might have. Once you have given the show your stamp of approval, you can allow the kids to watch it on their own while you get things done.
4. Ask Questions
Dinner time is the perfect time to ask your kids questions about the shows they’re watching. The questions you ask of course should not be an interrogation, but more questions of interest to find out what they liked and what they learned from watching a particular show or movie. For instance, “What did you learn from watching the show?” “What was your favorite part of the show and why?” Try to create an open dialogue even sharing your own interests in the show or comparing it to shows when you were a child.
The television doesn’t have to be a negative thing. In fact, it can be a very effective tool in helping you to expand your child’s knowledge and creativity. In order to make sure that TV time counts in your home, make sure that you implement each of the strategies listed above. Find a great channel lineup, place adequate parental controls, experience the shows with them, and lastly talk about them to keep the dialogue open. This creates the most educational environment possible and allows you to “kill two birds with one stone” without the guilty conscious for having the kids in front of the TV for a while.
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