Teaching Your Kids to Spend Less Time in Front of the TV

Teaching Your Kids to Spend Less Time in Front of the TV

In 2014 statistics showed Americans spend an average of 35 hours a week in front of the television, that’s an average of 5 hours a day. During that 5 hours a day TV-watchers miss out on social interaction, decrease their self-control thanks to subliminal advertisements, reduce brain activity, and sit for long periods of time which doesn’t help one’s waist size. As adults, knowing all the negatives of TV watching means it’s our responsibility to teach our children to spend less time in front of the TV.

Imitation

Children will often mimic their parents, so if you’re sitting in front of the TV, expect your kids to do the same. Pick up a book, open up your scrapbooking, garden, do what ever it is you enjoy doing. It doesn’t necessarily have to be kid friendly- your children can play or take time in their own hobbies while you do yours.

On the flip side, you can do things together. Play games, teach your child a craft, or spend a few hours in the kitchen making something from scratch. Anything that keeps your brains and even bodies active. Additionally, these sort of activities live longer in childhood memories than clocking hours in front of the TV together.

Other Activities

Get your children involved in sports, dancing, or music, something that they enjoy and will want to practice. That way you can suggest they work on those activities when they’ve had enough TV time.

For social interaction, suggest your kids invite their friends over or go play outside with the neighbors. If you have time, take them out to a museum or park, or even bring them along for errands if just to get them out of the house.

Video Games and Internet

Although not TV watching, sometimes we know it’s time to cut screen time in general, to include video games and internet browsing, specifically social media scrolling. It’s not a bad idea to set up time limits for each screen-related activity so your kids understand their daily allowance.

Enforcement

Of course there’s always simply turning off the TV and telling your kids to find something else productive to do. This method has proven effective in many households. However if you’re tired of the tantrums and accusations of ruining your children’s lives then set time limits for daily TV watching. Consider if you want to allow ‘roll-over’ time, although that may result in a marathon TV watching session on Saturday.

Also decide how you want to approach educational TV, as there are some shows which may actually teach your children something, maybe they can be free of the time limit or count for half their actual running time.

Not Always Bad

It’s been raining all week. Your kids have exhausted all their various hobbies and activities and now are simply running around the house giving you a headache. You know the only thing that will calm them down is a screening of “Frozen” but they’ve already watched their daily TV allotment. It’s ok to give in, you’re not a bad parent.

Bending the TV watching rules once in a while won’t sentence your kids to sedentary lifestyles parked on the couch, just be sure not to lie to yourself and consider it ‘once in a while’ when in reality its once a week.

 

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Music Lessons

little boy plays piano

Instructors and parents generally agree that children often provide clues concerning musical interests. Pre-school youngsters may become fascinated with the piano at Grandma's house or with an old guitar lying around the house. At this age, there are a variety of children's instruments that parents may introduce. A tambourine allows children to learn about rhythm. A xylophone provides the chance to create or mimic a simple tune.

Additionally, there are small child-sized pianos and keyboards having color-coded or numbered keys that come with booklets, which provide a child with the opportunity to learn basic skills. Many instructors have witnessed that children introduced to this type of piano, and allowed to leisurely learn and play, often demonstrate an enduring interest in taking music lessons and playing the piano when older. If children are pushed into taking formal lessons before the age of around 5 or 6, they often become frustrated and overwhelmed.

The recorder, a plastic flute-like instrument is another option for young children. Youngsters may begin playing when little fingers capably cover the holes. Once gaining experience with a recorder, kids often progress to the flute or clarinet. However, parents should wait until a child's permanent teeth come in before allowing a student to play wind instruments secondary to the pressure applied to the front teeth. Young children might also learn to play the guitar or violin at this age.

Private Lessons

Once a child seems mature enough to learn to read music and play the piano, or any other instrument, private music lessons offer many advantages. During the one-on-one communication that occurs between student and instructor, the child has the benefit of learning at their own pace while having the full attention of the teacher. The child naturally absorbs more information, and this relationship also provides instructors with the chance to focus on the child's strengths and weaknesses. The length and frequency of each lesson depends on the age of the student.

Practice Time

Learning a musical instrument requires practice. However, if not handled appropriately, practice becomes an unpleasant chore that leads to disagreements between child and parent. Help children develop a normal routine by scheduling practice sessions for the same time each day. For young children, limit the time to around 15 minutes. If a child seems more interested in watching the clock than actually practicing, use repetition methods instead. Have the child repeat a learned exercise for 4 times, for example, and maybe require them to play a particular scale 4 or 5 times during a practice session.