We all know that children nowadays watch too much television and spend too much time being inactive in front of a screen. Of course, because of this, parents are often worried and confused as to how much TV should their child watch and what kind of rules they need to set. In this situation, as in many others, balance is the key.
How much TV children watch?
Today, kids definitely watch more TV than in the past. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad sign – it can simply mean that kids are now more exposed to TV due to technological advancements. There is rarely a household without a TV around, or even two, and kids are used to it from an early age. One survey found that children up to age 11 watch TV around 4 hours a day on average.
Should you set rules?
Definitely. You should set limits both on content and amount of time, as both of these factors determine whether your child will benefit from watching TV or not. It would be best to enforce rules at a young age since small children will adopt them much faster; however, it is never too late.
What kind of rules does your child need?
Rules you set depend on many different factors, such as age or development. It helps to set TV rules in relation to other habits or daily routines your child has.
For example, you should teach them not to watch TV right before bed, as that can negatively affect their sleep quality.
Another great rule is not to watch TV during lunch or dinner because they should learn to be present and mindful when with family.
If you are worried that TV is having a negative effect on your child’s productivity, perhaps you should allow them screen time only after they have finished their chores or homework.
Don’t be too strict
When you are setting rules, try not to be too strict. Watching movies, TV shows and cartoons can be beneficial for your child when consumed in moderation. They lower stress and provide entertainment that all children need, as well as make children think about different topics and teach them valuable life lessons. Moreover, if you, for example, ban TV time completely, your children can never learn to set boundaries for themselves, which will become a problem for them in the future when they cannot rely on your rules.
What about parents?
One thing that we cannot forget is that you as a parent have to be a positive role model. This means that if you are watching TV during dinner, you cannot expect your child not to. You should provide a model behavior that your child should hopefully mimic.