For children, watching TV can be a great source of entertainment, while giving you free time, especially on weekends. However, excessive television time can have negative consequences.
How much television is too much?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has established the following television time recommendations:
- Babies and toddlers under 18 months: no time spent in front of the television.
- Toddlers 18-24 months: a few minutes of TV with a parent or caregiver.
- Preschoolers: No more than one hour of television time each day.
- Children and teenagers from 5 to 18 years old: the time spent in front of the television must be limited by the parents to no more than two hours per day.
Time spent watching television
Here are 9 simple strategies to make your child’s TV time more productive:
- Keep TV screens out of your children’s bedrooms.
- During meals, turn off the television.
- Never let your child watch television while they are doing their homework.
- Treat television time as a privilege that children should earn rather than a right to which they are entitled. Tell them that TV time is only allowed after chores and homework are done.
- Consider imposing a weekday ban, leaving TV time only on weekends.
- Examine the television schedules and descriptions of programs your child watches. Look for family-friendly programs (such as developmentally appropriate and non-violent programs appropriate for your child’s age). Choose shows that promote educational and learning hobbies and interests (reading, science, etc.).
- Use the notes. For some TV shows, age rating tools have been implemented and they usually appear in newspaper TV programs and on screen during the first 15 seconds of some TV shows.
- Offer enjoyable alternatives to television time. If you want your child to stop watching so much TV, offer alternatives like playing a board game, starting a game together, or going out.
- If something you disagree with appears on the TV screen, turn it off immediately and explain to your child why the show is not for them.