Watching too much TV interferes with the development of the child. It may lead to many health and behavioural problems such as obesity and aggressive behaviour. Setting a time limit for watching TV can help in fixing the problem. Read on to know more.
Is my child watching too much TV? He wants to switch it on every time he is at a loose end and does not mind watching anything at all. How can I get him to give up this habit?
In a typical case of shooting oneself in the foot, we are the first ones to introduce our kids to the television set as electronic nannies. When they are little, we switch on the TV or pop in a movie, so that the little fellow will eat his food faster and without complaint.
Television, together with its cousins, computer and video game, is a wonderful invention. These keep a child sufficiently occupied so as to be out of their parents’ hair. Parents can finish that phone call, send that email, cook dinner and the child will barely notice, and never disturb. In fact, the child will barely notice anything at all, such is his preoccupation with the screen. His brain, if he is watching a cartoon or a soap, will have gone to heaven and attained nirvana.
If your child is watching TV everyday, and for more than half an hour, then he is doing so instead of something else, most likely playing or meeting his friends. It is no wonder that excessive TV watching does contribute to obesity. It has also been found that too much TV interferes with the development of reading habits and may therefore result in your child struggling with his studies. TV and video games may even result in more aggressive children, displaying more violent behaviour.
Tips for Breaking the Television Habit in Children
It is clear that children cannot regulate their own TV time. It is therefore up to the parents to regulate their children’s TV habits. The following are suggestions to help wean your child off the TV.
- Find something better to do. If not the television (or any of the electronic nannies) what else would your child most like to do?
- Reward reading. Reading is an enjoyable past time. It’s just that your child does not know it…Yet!
- Change yourself! It is likely that you may have set an example by being very fond of the TV yourself. Children tend to learn from us.
- Get your child involved with other hobbies.
- Avoid cosy corners for the placement of the TV set. Place your TV in the living or dining room where everyone can partake of the programme that your child is watching.
- Negotiate limits for TV viewing per day. Also, make it a fair mix between the entertainment channels and the infotainment channels.
You have now to undo all that you have encouraged in the past. With a little bit of patience and perseverance, you will be able to convince your child to look elsewhere when he needs to keep himself entertained.