(originally posted at www.mothersgurukul.com)

Television (TV). In most households, this digital cube has become the most popular member of the family. Yes or No – TV is pervasive and almost addictive. Coming home from a stressful day, we switch on the TV and forget about everything else. When friends are over, we feel television is a necessity. Even during dinner, in many households, TV is always there to entertain. It has become an integral part of our daily routine. But who allowed this to happen?

Consequently, it also finds its way into our children’s lives. Defining TV Criteria: What to Watch and What to Avoid has become a very important topic.

Given an option, they prefer to watch a movie or a cartoon show than going out to somebody’s place or outdoors.

Screen time has gone up so much that today kids have almost forgotten to play outside and form social relationships. They find it less attractive option of spending time. Given an option, they prefer to watch a movie or a cartoon show than going out to somebody’s place or outdoors. I got back from my summer vacation trip. After a long summer day, when I was eagerly waiting to step out in the evening to take a walk or at least a stroll and meet some new faces, I was surprised to see that not many people were out of their houses. When I passed by their houses on the way towards the park, I could hear the sound of TV from their houses. In the park, there were few people, mostly older folks. Kids were there but not many.

We all have heard the pediatricians tell us to restrict TV till the age of two. We have followed it religiously but what happened later when our kids passed that two years age bar? When we were growing up, I do not remember that we spent our evenings sitting in front of the TV. We used to play outside till it got dark and go home when we were called by our parents. Or we used to visit our family friends or they used to come to our place which meant lot of social interaction and physical activities.

Watching TV is not bad but it shouldn’t take charge of our routine

Watching TV is not bad but it shouldn’t take charge of our routine. Our day shouldn’t be planned according to the show timings. In addition to that, what our kids are watching is very important. Today kids are smart enough to search cartoons on their own. They do not need instructions on how to use Netflix or Youtube. But when they get the remote control, then it’s in their hands! One search option gives them many other different options which they might get carried away with. Sometimes they want to watch the same cartoon that their friends have told them at school. Sometimes it’s okay but not always. Inappropriate shows promotes violence, distraction from study time (as they can’t concentrate) and often TV is known to be connected to childhood obesity. We feel that kids don’t remember things for that long. But NO, they do. Even if they forget it for a while, but whenever they encounter anything similar to what they have seen or heard on TV, they recall the whole episode.

We have to decide how many hours will be allowed and the programs that are appropriate. We should, of course, think of the many fun activities available that do not involve computers or TV. I personally believe we can do the following

  • Decide TV time for your child.
  • Make conversation more important in your home.
  • Keep a watch what kids are searching or watching and if possible, watch at least one or two episodes before you add it to their watch list.
  • Have family movie nights occasionally.
  • Try to avoid having meals in front of TV. Turn off your TV during meals.
  • Keep TV out of kid’s room.
  • Don’t use TV as a reward for doing something or finishing up some work.

TV is a popular device in today’s culture so it cannot be easily ignored. Watching TV with your children can be made a fun activity as long as it does not exceed limits! Let us know your views on TV watching.

Image credits: flick.com

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