There was a time when homework was given first priority, and everything else followed. However, nowadays it seems that the only time children do their homework is when nothing good is coming on television - or, of course, when parents hang the Damocles' sword on their head.
Television is affecting sleep, studies, mealtimes…. If your child's favourite programme is on, she will only go to bed when it gets over. The 'trash' that might affect young, impressionable minds gives parents sleepless nights. So how would you tackle this problem?
Make it a Family Decision
If you tell your child "No watching telelvision after 9:30 at night," you can be sure that's one rule that's not going to be adhered to. You should involve your child in the decision as well. Have a family meeting and say "There's a problem. How are 'we' going to solve it?"
Give your child the choice of programmes and timings. Sit with her while she makes a study plan and tell her that this plan will have to be adhered to. Let her choose for herself when she wants to study and when she wants to watch television. You will, however, have to hold her to it. The minute you slack off, so will your child.
Children may be drawn towards programmes with violent or horror themes. You may find it unsuitable, but arguing will get you nowhere. You could, instead, sit with your children and discuss the programme after it is over.
Let Children Think for Themselves
Don't impose your opinions. Tease them into expressing their own. Ask them who they thought the 'bad guy' was, and why. There is an inbuilt moral lesson to be learnt from most programmes - the bad guy never wins. Turn this to your advantage. Ask your children if they think it's fun to beat up someone, and what they thought was right and wrong.
A Critical Eye
While watching a movie you could pass comments on how unbelievable and unrealistic certain aspects of the plot are - and you'll find plenty such aspects when watching a Hindi movie! This will help your children develop a critical eye and spot an absurdity when they come across it.
Encourage your children to watch educational programmes on television. They would only be interested in watching Discovery Channel and the like if you inculcate an interest in such channels. If a programme on bees is coming up, you could give your children some fascinating facts, perhaps show them a book or article on bees. This will build their interest.
Get your children a colouring book of their favourite cartoon characters. Encourage them to sketch these favourite characters. You never know what undiscovered creative talents are hiding behind their mischievous exteriors.
The television need not be such an enemy if you know how to cope with it, and use it to your advantage.