One of the most difficult things to do as a parent is setting limits for watching television. Many children simply sit in front of the TV without regard to how much time they’re spending there. Although watching TV is common among kids, allowing too much watching is not a wise parenting move. According to The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children over the age of 2 should watch no more than one to two hours of quality video and television per day. Children under age 2 should not watch any TV or videos. Although this may seem like an impossible task, particularly for single working parents, following these five suggestions can make it easier:
1. Don’t have a TV in your children’s bedroom.
A television set in the bedroom can create bad habits that are lifelong and difficult to break. TV should be an active choice, not a passive choice advises healthychildren.org. When TV is watched, it should be watched in a public or family area with the family to encourage discussion and engagement with others.
2. Have your child request specific shows and videos rather than having the TV on constantly.
Do not allow your child to channel surf or to watch TV aimlessly. Encourage the selection of times and shows that can turn into scheduled TV watching.
3. Don’t turn on the TV during play dates. Let the children play with each other rather than rely on the TV.
Having children play outdoors and interact with each other is much healthier and promotes good social skills.
4. Read a book to your child rather than watching TV together.
Not having a TV set in the bedroom encourages parents to read books to children as part of the nighttime ritual. This helps build the parent, child relationship and can develop into a lifelong love of books.
5. Never eat and watch TV at the same time, creating bad habits.
Eating and watching TV is perhaps the worst habit that a child can have. Avoid turning on the TV during meal times. Instead, talk about the day’s activities and plans.
The five suggestions above may seem difficult to some parents at first, but by enforcing them on a regular basis, the hours spent watching TV will diminish.
What activities do you enjoy most as a family? Share them with us by leaving a comment below.