Taking Charge of TV - FamilyEducation

Taking Charge of TV

Take control and make TV a positive experience for your child.

tvteachkid_fensafe6.gifMany children enjoy TV, and they can learn from it. Keep in mind, though, that small children often imitate what they see, good or bad. It's up to you to decide how much TV and what kinds of shows your child watches.

Think about your child's age and choose what types of things you want him to see, learn, and imitate.

Look for shows that: Teach your child something, hold his interest, encourage him to listen and question, help him learn more words, make him feel good about himself, and introduce him to new things.

Shows such as Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, and Arthur are some you may want to consider. Many other good children's programs are on public television stations and on cable channels, such as Disney and Nickelodeon.

Limit the time you let your child watch. Too much television cuts into important activities in a child's life such as reading, playing with friends, and talking with family members.

Watch TV with your child when you can. Talk with your child about what you see. Answer his questions. Try to point out the things on TV that are like your child's everyday life.

When you can't watch TV with your child, spot check what he is watching. Ask questions after the show ends. See what excites him and what troubles him. Find out what he has learned and remembered.

Go to the library and find books that explore the themes of the TV shows your child watches. Or help your child make a book based on a TV show, using his drawings or pictures cut from magazines.

Source: Helping Your Child Become a Reader, U.S. Department of Education

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