Children and TV are likely to become a combo as soon as they are introduced. However, we can’t let them spend too much time in front of the screen. But how do we find a balance?
As parents, we need to try to keep our kids and TV far away from each other sometimes, as much as they like watching it. TV time needs to be limited, so our children can spend time doing other kinds of activities that help them develop other skills and that allow them to be creative. We may not like saying no, but the truth is, we know what’s best for our children… and television isn’t always it!
Keep reading to find out more about children and TV, the recommended screen time a day and the dangers of not setting a balance.
Children and TV: Is it always bad?
TV isn’t always bad for children: There are many shows and cartoons that are especially designed for them, and that can help them learn great things, such as the alphabet, nature and wildlife or even important human values – we all dearly remember Sesame Street!
So no, TV isn’t always bad for children, but watching it for too long won’t be beneficial at all – even if they only watch educational shows. They need other kinds of more active and creative entertainment as well.
Children and TV: The dangers of the screen
Children and TV, TV and children. Sometimes, it seems that our little one’s strongest bond is with the TV! It can be hard to find that much needed balance between our kid’s needs and wishes.
These are the dangers of staying with the eyes on the TV for too long:
- Obesity: Watching TV is a sedentary activity. The more time your kid spends sitting on the couch, the higher the risk of becoming overweight. Besides, too much TV will also increase his craving of junk food.
- Bad grades: A TV is a distraction, and can affect your child’s performance in school.
- Sleep problems: Too much screen time can also cause insomnia and trouble falling asleep – and too little sleep can worsen the other problems listed here.
- Violence and behavioural problems: We can’t control everything our children consume, but that lack of control is greater if they spend too much time watching TV. In other words, the media contain more violence than the playpen. Besides, watching TV is a lonely activity: our little ones need to establish deep relationships with other people.
- Less creativity: Playing is a great way to increase your child’s creativity, and they need to be away from the TV to do so.
Children and TV: How much is too much?
Now that we know the goods and the bads about children and TV, the only question is… how much time should we allow them to watch TV? Well, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children shouldn’t watch TV at all if they’re younger than 2 years, whereas kids older than two shouldn’t watch more than 2 hours a day – and, of course, only programing apt for children.
However, that’s not how it is – and if you have children, you probably know. So how can we keep our children away from the screen?
Children and TV: How to keep them away from the screen
There are several reasons why children watch more TV than they should, and more than we did when we were children ourselves. One could be the many different “screens” that surround them nowadays: computers, tablets, smartphones… Times change, and it looks like the screens are here to stay.
However, while there are educative games and videogames that can teach them other skills, the case of TV is different. As educational as some shows can be, while our kids are watching TV, they are just watching. And this brings us to another one of the main reasons: Nowadays, adults have jobs that take up a lot of time, and sometimes they don’t have that much time to spend with their children. In order to keep children and TV apart, we’ll need to dedicate time to them – and that isn’t an inconvenient. All in all, being away from the TV will help your children… and make all of you happier!
This is how to dissolve the children and TV combo:
- Keep the TV in the common areas: Children tend to spend more time watching TV if they have one in their bedrooms. In fact, there are studies that prove that having a TV inside the bedroom is one of the causes of low marks in school. Keep the TV in the living room so they have to do something else when they spend time in their bedroom, like reading a book or playing.
- Instil some healthy TV habits… If your TV has too much presence in your daily life, your child will probably watch too much of it. Don’t keep the TV on as background company and try not to eat your meals in front of it.
- … And healthy rules, if that’s what it takes: If the rest of tricks don’t work, set some times when TV is allowed and make sure your kid sticks to it.
- Apply to the rules yourself: If you don’t let your kids watch TV but you watch too much of it yourself, it will set a bad example.
- Watch with your child: Sit with your children to watch their shows so you can talk about them afterwards. Besides being a way to spend time with them, they will also learn to understand and assimilate what they’re watching.
The best way to keep children and TV away from each other is to spend time with them. Help them do their homework, play with them, read them stories or take them to the playpen.
Now you know everything there is to know about children and TV: A variety of activities is the solution for boredom, and for an excess of screen time!