Often parents can be heard complaining about the excess time their kids spend in front of the TV screen. Kids, who get addicted to watching television, show less interest in outdoor activities. As per a few studies, kids in the age bracket of 3-5 are known to watch TV on an average of 4-7 hours daily.
And this is the time they specifically spend on TV; smartphones and other gadgets are also in the line here. If go by the views of experts, excess exposure to TV can lead to grave issues for the child as it can cause poor attention span, eating disorder, sleep troubles, and in some cases, poor health can also be a grave consequence.
Moreover, the kind of things they watch on the television can have a direct influence on their thinking ability and personality. Considering these factors, it is crucial that the TV time is monitored thoroughly.
Today, we shall be discussing a few points that will help you monitor the TV time for your child and establish a healthy routine, without causing much argument.
1. Set the right example by practicing ideal behaviour: We have discussed this a number of times; kids follow your footprints. If you want them to stick to some particular routine, it is important that you also practice the same. You need to implement the same on yourself. Follow a strict routine when it comes to watching television so that your child can learn watching you. It will also work as an encouragement factor for them.
2. Follow a dedicated time slot: Another important thing you should consider is fixing the time for your child to watch TV. Make the instruction very clear to your child such that he understand it pretty well and abides by it. While you allow your child to stick to a fix time, make sure you also follow the same routine.
3. The rules should be explained clearly: Now that you have made the rule, you will have to first make your child understand as to why such rule has been made. Tell him how excess of TV use can be harmful for his health and mental development. Your child must be explained why this change has been brought otherwise he will consider it as your way of seizing his freedom which can make him rebellious.
4. No harm in being a little firm: When you make a rule, it’s essential to see that the same is followed without much trouble. And at times it may require you to take some strict measures. As you are doing it for your child’s benefit, there is no harm in being a little strict. Make yourself very clear to them. Kids must be made aware of the consequences they might have to face if the rule is broken.
5. Keep some practical consequences: If your child breaks the rule, don’t resort to any physical punishment. This won’t be a practical thing to do as over the time, he will no more fear you or your scolding. A better approach would be to keep consequences that are sensible and constructive in nature. If your child doesn’t abide by the rule, tell him politely that he will have to miss his favourite show for a day or two. Think of punishment that will not hurt him physically.
6. Encourage other activities: Now that you have limited media time, kids would need something to keep them occupied. Introduce them to some creative activities like painting, reading, or some DIY activities. You can even engage them in some indoor game like building blocks, picture puzzles etc.
7. Indulge in some family time: When every member in the house spends most of the free time in watching TV or with their phones, it leaves no space for the family members to interact with one another and spend quality time. Now that you have decided to limit media time, utilize the free hours in indulging with family. Sit with your little ones, watch out what activity they are doing, and share some interesting stories with them.
8. Play with your kids: Like grownups, kids also turn to media for some entertainment. But if you can provide them with some good and effective ways of entertainment, they are likely to stay away from it. Manage your own time-table for everyday, and use the spare time in playing with your kids. This will be one great way of strengthening your bond too.
9. Try to divert their attention using some positive means: Initially, it would be quite hard to prevent your child from watching TV. He will crave to indulge in the activity he enjoys the most. However, make sure that you don’t give into his pleas and rather make efforts towards diverting his attention in a positive way. Involve him in some household activity like tidying up his room, gardening or reading out a story together.
10. Go slow with the change: As we said, changing the habits won’t happen overnight. They will change slowly and gradually. You will have to be consistent and patient with your efforts. If one way doesn’t seem to be working, switch to some other way. Just don’t give up!
Don’t always take the extreme measure of either cutting off TV cable. This will never be the ideal solution. You must aim at making your child understand and develop a conscious thought on his own that excess of media time is bad. Start the efforts from now so that as they grow up, they don’t end up being slaves to media.