8 Tips for Helping Your Child Establish Healthy TV Watching Habits

Modern appliances such as televisions, along with more recent gadgets such as mobile phones, tablets, and personal computers, have contribut...

Modern appliances such as televisions, along with more recent gadgets such as mobile phones, tablets, and personal computers, have contributed positively to childhood development by way of more accessible learning and educational content. However, too much exposure to these media devices have also been observed to have detrimental effects on children.


Primarily, looking at screens place a lot of strain on the eyes and affect healthy eyesight. Too much time spent watching also affects children’s study patterns and attention spans, which can affect how well they do in school. Experts have also found a link between excessive media consumption and health concerns  such as insomnia and childhood obesity, as well as mental and emotional conditions such as depression and anxiety.


This is why it is important that you help your child establish healthy viewing or media consumption habits when it comes to using televisions, handheld gadgets, and computers. 

Here are some tips on how to achieve this.


Know How Much Screen Time Your Child Should Have


Know the recommended allowable screen time according to your child’s age. Experts say that it’s a no-no for babies up to 18 months of age, except for some incidental exposure such as when in a family video call or some similar situation. As your toddler reaches 2 years old, he may then be allowed to directly participate in such instances. As they reach preschool age, they may be allowed up to an hour of screen time especially if it is related to schooling or education. Generally, from five years old and up, you can decide on TV and computer use upon your discretion. A good rule of thumb is to never allow screen time to interfere with proper sleep schedule and an active physical lifestyle.


Provide Other Recreational and Learning Resources


To help curb the tendency to watch TV or use gadgets, don’t place them in your child’s room where they are readily accessible. Place them in a designated viewing area that is a common space within the household. Moreover, in this area, fill the surroundings with books, magazines, and other types of educational toys and hobbies such as board games so that your child may have opportunities to be weaned off from watching TV constantly. 


Instill Discipline in Terms of When They Can Have Access to TV and Gadgets


Establish strict rules to turn off the TV, mobile phones, and other gadgets during specific times, such as at the dinner table, while lying in bed waiting to fall asleep, or while doing school work. Be sure to enforce them and to not allow any excuses, otherwise your child will not develop the discipline to keep away from these distractions.


Set Up a Reward System


It would be good to establish TV viewing and gadget use as a privilege or reward for doing their tasks right—like finishing their homework and cleaning their room—instead of caving in to their demands or to make them feel that it is their right to use these devices. This sets up positive reinforcement for prioritizing things other than watching TV, playing computer games, or browsing the Internet.


Walk the Talk


It is important to serve as a good example to your child by limiting your screen time yourself. You need to walk the talk in order to encourage your child not to spend too much time watching TV or using gadgets. Otherwise, they will not see the value of what they are doing or they might even reason out against your rules.


Turn It into a Family Affair


Do make TV viewing time a more enjoyable and positive experience by making it communal. Check out the available TV programs and develop a family-friendly repertoire that you and your child can look forward to on a regular basis. This also ensures that the content your child consumes is contributing positively to their mental development.


Set Up Boundaries to Protect Your Child from Inappropriate Material


Make use of technology such as apps or programs that can help filter what your child browses and watches on the computer, tablet, or mobile phone. Keep track of the content that your child is browsing to help them to steer clear of material and information that are inappropriate. You can also adjust the settings of your gadgets to limit their access to the Internet to certain sites and times of the day only.


Learn from Others


It would be good to keep abreast of techniques and tips that educators and other parents are employing in terms of keeping TV viewing and gadget use healthy and productive for kids. Engage in conversations with your loved ones and friends, and compare notes with how they are dealing with TV viewing in their own household. You might learn a thing or two that may be effective to implement with your own child.


It pays to establish good habits when it comes to TV viewing and using gadgets at home. As with other things in life, moderation is always key. Watching TV and using gadgets are not at all wrong, but it’s excessiveness that is detrimental to the physical and mental well-being of your child. Always strike a good balance between having fun and enjoying other aspects of life so that your child grows up to be a well-rounded and productive individual.

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