Time away from routine
For most children the television becomes a companion...
Away from the television, it's time for fun and play.
A mother of a 12-year-old boy, visiting us at Bodhi says, "Suresh is a nice, intelligent boy but we cannot stop him from watching television and oversleeping. We have tried our best... nothing seems to work. Can you help? This is a common complaint and in our last parent-child club meeting, this topped the agenda.
Parents feel helpless watching their children waste their time before the television. Does the television facilitate one's growth? Is it a problem for children only?
The television has many roles to play Entertain, Educate, Inform... It has also some negative roles. This is not like alcohol or smoking where one can categorically say it is bad and ban it. It is like a knife, use it to cut an apple or kill a person, it depends on the user. The challenge is how we are use it for our growth.
Start a dialogue and allow the children a part in the decision-making process. By this you are showing them that first you respect their opinion (which will ensure that he respects your opinion) and second telling them they are responsible for their behaviour. When this topic was brought for discussion and resolution at our Parent Child Club meeting, both parents and children participated enthusiastically. Children wholeheartedly agreed that watching too much TV was definitely not a very good habit and they were willing to work it out, provided... "that mother does not nag me, father does not shout at me", and so on. With working parents, homework, tight study schedule and lack of play, the child is under a lot of pressure. He needs an outlet, a catharsis, and a playmate, and in the TV, he finds an ideal playmate. All the heroes, giants and fairies that are a part of every growing child's framework are there on TV. So we need to address these needs of the child first while helping them make the best use of TV for their growth and development and use it constructively.
Watch the programme with your children
Select developmentally appropriate shows
Place limits (per day and per week)
Turn off the TV during meals and study time.
Turn off shows you feel are not appropriate for your child.
Bodhi, Space for Learning
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