How much TV is your child watching?
Ok. My children watch too much television. I’m not proud of this admission. My children are busy and we do lots of sports and go on playdates and trips to the library, the park and the beach. But they do watch too much TV.
A survey of 2914 children by Roy Morgan Research shows the average child watches television for nearly five hours more a week than they spent playing with or talking to friends, the next highest activity, and almost three times as long as they spent playing sport. Now I’m pretty sure we’re not watching that much, but in my heart of hearts I do know it’s too much.
I also know that stats about the impact of too much TV are pretty alarming as well. So recently husband and I had one of those Serious Discussions. This was after we’d been on a parenting course together so we were all fired up about how to be better parents. (Great course by the way)
We have always been really strict about what our children watch. Boringly so. They have only been allowed to watch children’s programmes or DVD’s. I did know from teaching that what kids watch can have an impact on their learning and emotional intelligence, and while I can’t stand the Teletubbies, I think they’re more suitable TV programming for my kids than the latest music video by Lady Gaga.
However we have been a bit slack about sitting down sometimes to eat in front of the TV. It’s just so much easier than sitting at a table and getting into the whole: ‘Don’t hit your sister with a spoon!’ conversation. But, while easier, isn’t going to help with the whole ‘not hitting with a spoon’ thing. So Friday night we can sit on the couch, watch a Disney movie and eat dinner together. The rest of the week, it’s at the table.
We’ve also banned TV in the morning though they can watch it in the afternoon for a while. We were guilty of letting them watch too much time, and while we were strict about the content we also needed to tighten up on the length of time they were watching. The bonus has been, there’s been lots more storytime and craft being done round here. So while my house is messier, the sense of engagement and achievement is much better.
Do you have TV rules? What are they?