publication date: Nov 24, 2008
author/source: Dr Tanya Byron
Healthy balanced viewing
- Monitor your family’s viewing habits for a week.
- Balance time spent watching TV against time spent in other healthy and enriching activities.
- Make sure your viewing is as viewtritional as that you wish for your child.
- Research, read up about and discuss with other parents the relative value of programmes watched.
- Choose programmes that complement your child’s interests and also challenge their learning.
- Plan and record your children’s balanced TV diet.
- As you don’t want your child to graze on junk food all day – don’t let them graze on junk TV all day.
- Pre-record and series link those programmes that you find nutritional using a digital TV recorder.
- Monitor time spent watching TV.
- Use TV – for a limited time - as an incentive after other important tasks have been done.
Don’t consume alone
- TV is best enjoyed and has greatest impact for children when shared and discussed – this is called “co–viewing”.
- Pause and rewind live TV using your Freeview+ box, and discuss what’s on the screen.
Be active when watching TV
- Ask questions of your child as you are watching – the pause button on digital TV consoles can help with this.
- Get interactive via the red button and also going onto TV programme websites.
- Use the TV programme as inspiration for other activities – a “web of learning”.
- Use TV to capture your child’s curiosity and then build on this with books or discussion.
- Help your child understand links between what they view and the wider world.
Keep TV as a delicious treat
- Limit them to watching the main family TV set
- Make sure the TV is not on all the time so that it becomes valued and appreciated when it is
- No TV at meal times
- Pre-record family programmes that can be enjoyed all together
Help your children learn about Viewtrition
- Discuss what they are watching and why.
- As they get older let them decide with you what they enjoy (and why.
- Recognise that a little bit of junk here and there is not going to cause long term damage in most children – so be calm.
You can download a free copy of A parent's guide to quality TV for kids from www.freeview.co.uk