Whether we like it or not, television has come to stay. Also, some of the programmes on sports, travel, music and science are quite educative. In fact, good educational programmes may have a positive effect. Keeping this in mind, I suggest that you stick to intelligent rationed viewing for yourself as well as for your child.
I recommend the following guidelines to parents:
1.Restrict TV viewing to 1 hour during school days and 2 hours during weekends or holidays. Ensure the children are not sitting too close to the TV screen.
2.Parents should restrict their own viewing. Co-operation should be sought from others in a joint family. If it is not forthcoming, let others have the TV set in another room. If that is not possible, take the children out or let them go to bed early. TV in children's bed-room should not be allowed. This applies to children of all ages, especially teens.
3. Let all members of the family come to an agreement about which programmes should be seen. Film actor Sunil Shetty, father of two, says, "I prefer that my kids watch Discovery and National Geographic, not violent serials. Even cartoons sometimes have a negative impact because of the violence and negative attitudes they often portray."
4. Inculcate the habit of reading, playing and exercising from an early age.
5. Encourage your child to develop a hobby.
6. Don't expose children below the age of three years to television as it may also be associated with poor educational achievement later in life.
7. Be firm about TV programmes which a child should not see. If she does happen to see such a programme, find time to discuss with her the characters, and that these are all made up and rarely portray real life situations. With an older child, discuss a different possible approach to handling problems that are portrayed.
8. During holiday, see that the child's spare time is well occupied. She may be encouraged to join classes in public speaking, music, drama, dance or the martial arts.
9. The family may plan a holiday trip. Take the children for nature walks or to explore the city museum. Both boys and girls should be encouraged to learn cooking. Some parents can get together and plan to share the responsibility of keeping the children busy in groups, on different days of the week.
Source: Book - Guide to Child Care by Dr R K Anand
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