Raising a healthy child – setting rules for TV and computer usage
We often hear people saying that when they were younger, things used to be different. Indeed, the world has taken a harsh turn since we were younger, and the activities that were interesting for us a few years ago are no longer presenting interest for younger generation today. However, there is nothing wrong with this twist of priorities. The world may have changed when talking about youth entertainment tools today, but changes are the force of evolution.
Today children are mostly concentrated on activities that keep them busy in front of TV, computers, tablets, etc. They steal children’s attention for hours, often leaving them with no desire to do any other activities like playing games, reading books or even help adults with some errands. Children who play football or badminton in the courtyard have become synonymous to old fashioned. Their hobby collection is often reduced to the list of channels on their TV or the range of computer games. They stay indoors, preferring the solitary activities, online conversations and TV shows.
Numerous researches have been made regarding the power TV and computers have on children’s development. The number of hours spent watching movies, shows, or playing games and chatting online are alarmingly increasing, and become a point of concern for many parents, especially when compared to the number of hours spent on homework or physical activities.
We have proposed to outline a few rules which could be discussed with your child regarding their time spent at TV or computer.
Decide on the programs your child will watch. If you choose and give options of development programs for your child, he will choose from them. While getting the list of options ready, think of the different skills you child can acquire from these shows, fit for their age development needs.
Set up time-limit per day for watching TV programs or playing at computer. Even the development programs should look like a treat alongside with time spent playing with peers, time shared with family, and doing small chores. A certain time limit for the preferred activities should correspond to one or two programs or shows per day, during special hours, settled together with your child.
- Spend some time watching together a movie or a program. This gives you a chance to discuss the watched storyline, explain or ask questions. Watching something together for a while gives you the opportunity to learn something from your child or about him. This time together gives you two some food for discussion and possibility for connection.
Turn TV and internet time into useful activities. We all learn by doing, imitating, seeing and listening. One of the most efficient ways to encourage your child do something is join him in his activity. After watching a movie, encourage your child to read the book which was the source for the film; after watching a TV program on gardening, show how to plant a seed. Cook after a cooking TV show, paint together the favourite cartoon character, learn a foreign language with the use of the computer, making their time with these favourite tools useful and educative.
- Turn the TV off when you’re not watching it. They say children learn from parents’ behaviour rather than from their words. Show an example for your child by using efficient time watching certain channels besides doing some other things. So do not let the TV work in the background while you cook, chat with your family or have dinner. Instead, talk to your child and family, discuss books, movies or sing together.
TV, computer and internet may turn into a strong educational tool for children. TV can help teaching about the surrounding world, computers help run educational programs for learning a foreign language, on the internet you can find instructions how to craft origami or do drawings. If used intelligently, they present a huge help in education and diversification of the activities you are planning for your child in his free time.
Though media, TV and internet might seem to present danger for the child, parents can create a comfortable area for learning, discovering, and creating by dosing the flow of information and learning how to use for their own convenience the fast developing technologies.