Useful Rules for Kids and TV Watching

girl watching tvMost American families have a television in her home if not more than one. Kids grow up these days with access to age-appropriate entertainment 24/7. There are so many choices, the entertainment is so much fun and these shows make it easy for mom to get things done. Therefore, it’s not a surprise that our children are watching too much television! Not all TV, is bad TV. As a matter fact, a lot of what kids watch these days has some value, whether it be educational or interpersonal lessons. But while this is true, there are shows on television that we simply don’t want our children watching. So monitoring what type television our children watch is as and working as making sure were are not sitting in front of the television for too many hours in a week. So here are some useful rules you can set with your children about watching television:

Mom and dad have the final say. It is their choice as to what television shows are allowed to be shown on the family TV. While anyone can make a case about a particular show that they want to watch, permission needs to be given. Be very clear with your kids that just because you haven’t said ‘no’ to a show, doesn’t mean it is a ‘yes’.

When friends are over for a visit, the television should be kept off. Games can be played and visiting can be done without the TV in the background. Now, if your teen is planning a movie-athon, then of course they can watch television. But school-age kids will often avoid being social by turning on the TV. Help them learn to be with friends by not allowing that.

If your child has schoolwork or homework to do, the TV should remain off until it is completed. This includes any reading time that should be done. But I want to caution parent, reading and television are not an either/or thing. Kids can do both – just not at the same time.

Kids are able to watch shows on the Internet, therefore be sure your rules apply to that venue and your children understand that. Explain to your teenagers the difference between legal viewing and illegal viewing of television shows. Tell them you expect they will not go to websites to watch shows illegally.

Understand the parental controls on your television and use them. When you take the ability to do something wrong away from your children, you prevent them from getting into trouble. You have the ability to do that here, so why not?

The rules are for all televisions in the house. If your child has a television in their room, be sure they have a clear understanding of what the rules are and that they are applicable to all televisions in the house. A simple logical consequence of not following the rules would be to take the television out of your child’s room for short period of time.

Do not use the television as a babysitter. While your child is watching their favorite cartoon you can grab a cup of coffee, it is not a good idea to allow your child to watch television all afternoon.

Do not count other things that are done on the television as ‘TV time’. Make separate rules for video game time or family movie night. If you are allowing your child to watch video movies that are two hours long for their television time, one a day is more than enough. Do not allow the television to be on when your children are supposed to be doing something else. For instance, in the morning when your children are supposed be getting ready for school the television should remain off. If you allow them to watch television while eating their breakfast you’re setting yourself up for a power struggle when you need to leave and they need to finish getting ready.

Pay close attention to the advertising that your child is watching. This is particularly important when children are of school age. Shows that would be fine for them to watch have advertising are simply not appropriate. Strive to give kids a break by using videos, TiVo, Netflix, or other viewing alternatives.

Do more than just set the rules for your kids concerning TV time. Make them aware of alternative activities that they can do and have these things readily available to them. Help kids to find something to do on their own, independently. When kids know that watching television for entertainment is a privilege and they understand the rules, they will be more apt to follow them willingly. Do you want to suggest some rules for television viewing from your family’s home? Please share your advice in the comments section below.

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