Making TV Time Quality Time
According to a Web MD article: A 2010 study of 1,314 children showed that the more TV children watched between the ages of 2 1/2 to 4 1/2 years, the less likely they were to exercise at the age of 10. Watching more TV was also linked to a higher body mass index (BMI) — a measure of weight relative to height — as well as lower grades and intake of more snacks and soft drinks.
As a parent I know that I’m always concerned about what I can do to keep Amber happy *and* healthy (TV isn’t an issue yet for Tyler as the stinker won’t even sit and watch 5 minutes of a program, haha) TV time is a big treat for her, and now that she no longer naps it is a great option for when Tyler’s napping and I need to work.
I’m always careful to make our daily screen time intentional and deliberate. We never have the TV “just on” I have seen families that must consume hours and hours and hours of tube time as the dumb thing is constantly blaring in the background even when no one is watching. When our TV is on Amber is glued to it–because it doesn’t happen that much! 🙂 That provides me with some great time to get a ton of uninterrupted work done. This doesn’t mean that I just go off and let her watch whatever though.
As I recently mentioned I’ve figured out that Amber’s primary love language is physical touch. I turn her TV time into bonding time as well by always letting her snuggle up with me during it. She watches blissful while I type away on my laptop–in fact that is exactly what we’re doing right now!
Another thing that I do is being super picky about what she’s allowed to watch. The fact that I’m (semi) watching everything with her really plays into this….if it’s dumb or annoying it doesn’t work! This helps me keep a tab on just what she’s learning/listening/etc. I’m astounded at how much even her limited TV watching affects her behavior, speech, and how she plays. Many times it’s for the good, terms such as “I better go investigate” or “to the rescue!!!” pepper her playing, but there have been times that annoying baby talk, slang phrases, or annoying habits have slipped in and I’ve wondered where she got them only to pick up on them in one of her shows (which then always get quietly set aside/put away/turned off).
My favorites are shows that are educational and/or teach values. Being Kind and Caring: Biblical Wisdom for Kids (Paws & Tales) is a great example of the kind of shows I have her watch and that we both love. In fact it’s her new favorite and just tonight she told me that it was “the best of all” and she hugged it, haha! While the animation isn’t super high class that doesn’t deter from the great stories, lessons, and the fact that Amber asks to watch it over and over again! Some of the other reviews have mentioned some name calling and fighting in the storyline, and while this hasn’t seemed to deter Amber’s attitude I have noticed that as one other reviewer mentioned the fact that often when negative behavior is shown, even in a bad light, that seems to be what Amber picks up on.
Things like this can be an excellent teaching tool though! Before, during, and after watching shows–especially those with conflict or where choices are made is always a good time for discussing what’s going on, what the show is teaching, and whether choices and actions were good or bad and why.
What are your tips for turning TV time into quality time?