The invention of the television set changed the game in the entertainment industry.
Compared to all age groups, children are affected more when they spend a lot of hours in front of a television. Moderation is the watchword as we try to change the narrative.
Getting access to movies, documentaries and interesting shows has gotten easier because we won’t need to leave the comfort of our chairs or beds. Also, some television sets have access to the internet which has only worsened the situation.
In a world where children have access to mobile devices and television sets from a young age, parents and guardians need to know the right amount of time their wards should spend in front of a television.
Doing this will prevent certain scenarios from creeping up and knowing when to change your game plan to protect your children.
Guidelines For Television (TV) Time For Kids
The American Academy Of Paediatrics (AAP) recommend the following when you are considering the amount of time that your children should spend in front of a television.
- Children under the age of 2 should spend little or no time in front of a television. Also, this should be done with utmost supervision.
- Children between the ages of 2 and 5 should spend a maximum of 1 hour per day on a television set. In this stage of their life, the forming of social skills and relationships with family members is more important.
- For children between ages 6 and above, the parents or guardians have to determine how much time they spend watching television. They should also ensure that parental control features are enabled and employ the use of moderation.
Effects Of Excessive Television (TV) Time
If you notice the following character traits in your child, now may be the time to reduce screen time.
Reduction In Social Interaction: Most children are naturally inquisitive, and want to make new friends or play with those around them. If your child prefers sitting in front of a television to doing any of these things listed above, you have to reduce his or her screen time.
Poor Performance In Academics: Unlike adults, children can get swayed or influenced by what they watch. Furthermore, there is this natural high that comes from getting instant gratification when children watch their favourite programmes. This can reduce the time spent on learning and reading.
Notice of Television Addictive Tendencies: When you notice your child prefers to watch television shows continuously instead of reading, playing with peers or having a conversation with family members; you have to cut down on television time immediately.
Changes In Overall Health: Sitting in front of a television set can make your child develop bad eating habits such as; the habit of eating junk food and spending more time during meals. Also, your child can become obese from sitting in a spot for so long.
Irregular Sleep Patterns: The lights from a television set when used at night can make it difficult for your child to fall asleep at the right time.
How To Manage Television Time For Kids
You must manage screen time for your kids till they are old enough to do so by themselves or till they form the right habits as regards the time in front of a television. This can be achieved in the following ways
- Make use of parental control features on your television to regulate the type of programmes your children watch.
- Limit television time by incorporating other activities like reading, playing board games and having quality conversations with your kids.
- Good screen time habits should be instilled at a very young age. Instead of forcing a teenager to limit screen time, start when your child is less than 3 years old.
- Set a good example because most children learn faster when they watch you do certain things.
- Ensure your child’s sleeping area is free from the distraction of a television set.
- Try watching some of their shows with them to ensure that they are getting the right content.
In conclusion, as long as you have decided to become a parent, guardian or caregiver of a child, this is one area of your child’s development that you can’t leave to chance. More sophisticated television sets will be produced in the years to come and it’s up to you to take up the challenge of making sure that your child gets accustomed to the right television time habits.