Tips for Taming Television
(From God’s Design for the Highly Healthy Child by Dr. Walt Larimore. All rights reserved)
Television viewing doesn’t have to be out of control. Parents can set limits and teach children to make wise viewing choices. Consider the following suggestions, which are adapted from a sidebar in Dr. Daphne Miller’s WebMD article titled Television’s Effects on Kids: It Can Be Harmful:
- Choose shows with your children, steering them toward educational programs. Avoid violent shows. If you have trouble controlling what your children watch, consider putting a lockbox on the television.
- Have your children pick shows that will not interfere with daily routines such as meals, homework, and bedtime.
- Do not use the television as a baby-sitter; instead, watch shows with your children. This is especially important for children under age ten because they may need your guidance to distinguish between fantasy and reality.
- Avoid snacking or eating family meals while watching television.
- Don’t allow your children to have televisions in their bedrooms. It will only make it more difficult for you to regulate what your children watch, and it does nothing to promote family togetherness.
- Most important, encourage your children to do things other than watch television. Do an art project together, read a book, or get out of the house and go to the playground or zoo. In other words, don’t watch life. Live it!
- Last, but not least, consider becoming a TV-free home. Short of that, limit television viewing to no more than two hours a day for everyone in the household older than the age of two. It’s crucial for parents to stick to this rule, because children imitate their parents’ behavior.
So, next week we’ll talk about this radical idea … having a TV-free home.