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Tips for developing positive TV viewing habits for children

Dr. M. Vijayalakshmi, M.D (Peds), M.D (USA), F.A.A.P

"Content Source: American Academy of Pediatrics."

Tips for developing positive TV viewing habits for children

The following are some ways you can help your children develop positive viewing habits recommended by American Academy of Pediatrics and adapted for :

  • Set limits : Limit your children's use of TV, movies, and video and computer games to no more than 1 or 2 hours per day. Do not let your children watch TV while doing homework. Do not allow TV in your children's bedrooms.
  • Plan what to watch : There are a multitude of channels available and the number is increasing every day. Instead of channel surfing, use a program guide to help you and your children choose which shows to watch. Turn the TV on to watch the program and turn it off when it is over.
  • Watch TV with your children : Whenever possible, watch TV with your children when they are watching their programs and talk about what they see. If your children are very young, they may not be able to tell the difference between a show, a commercial, a cartoon, or real life. Be especially careful of "reality-based" programs
  • Do not watch your programs with children : Do not allow the children to watch the programs that you watch unless they are appropriate for children too. Also doing this will increase the total time the children are exposed to the TV every day which is not good.
  • Find the right message : Some TV programs show people as stereotypes. If you see this, talk with your children about the real-life roles of women, the elderly, and people of other races, religion, castes or socioeconomic status.
  • Help your children resist commercials :Help your children resist commercials. When your children ask for things they see on TV, explain that the purpose of commercials is to make people want things they may not need.
  • Look for quality children's videos and DVDs : There are many quality videos and DVDs available for children. Check reviews before buying or renting programs or movies.
  • Give other options : Watching TV can become a habit for your children. Help them find other things to do like playing; reading; learning a hobby, a sport, an instrument, or an art; or spending time with family, friends, or neighbors. Read with your children regularly and exercise with them regularly.
  • Set a good example : As a role model, limiting your own TV viewing and choosing programs carefully will help your children do the same.
  • Express your views : When you like or do not like something you see on TV, make yourself heard. Stations, networks, and sponsors pay attention to letters from the public. If you think a commercial is misleading or inappropriately targeting children, write down the product name, channel, and time you saw the commercial and describe your concerns.