If you are a parent and you are concerned about how glued your kids are to television, then this post is for you. First thing you must note is that television is the thing of their generation and it has come to stay. One thing that frustrates you is that you try to compare your days with their day. I must say that there is no comparison because a LOT has changed. You must accept that.
So, I will be giving tips on how you can curb the excesses that come with this technology because if not managed and controlled, it would do harm than good. Well, you know already that I am a book person so I will just start from there. Simply, bring television to books. “How?” You might ask. Most classic cartoons or movies are from books. E.g, Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Robinson Crusoe, Alice in Wonderland, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Ali Baba and the Forty thieves etc. In fact, some cartoons have been turned into books like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty etc. You can engage them in getting these books for them and giving them the assignment of finding out the differences between the books and the films.
Also, make television shows and cartoons an educative time. Watch along with them and ask them questions. In fact some reading strategies like predicting can be used. So you can say things like “Jim was quite rude to his teacher, I wonder what she would do to him.” Hear them predict the teacher’s actions or next event and comment on them. Take notes of their predictions and you can monitor how closely they are paying attention to the movie/cartoon. With this, you are working on their critical thinking skills and noting their level of concentration.
You can also ensure that they pick new words from what they watch, If you hear a word you suspect they would not understand, pause and ask them what they think that word means. With the situation/context surrounding the speech, they would be able to infer what the word means even if they don’t get it entirely. You are already doing vocabulary development.
You must not forget also that you are the parent. You must set stringent rules on watching television. You can have particular hours in the day set out for television and you should stick to it. Children must be taught that they can’t afford to watch television all day.
You must also ensure that you talk to them about it. Talk to them about it more than you complain about it. Let them see that they need to engage in other activities outside of watching television so they can be outstanding in their endeavours. Create an atmosphere for learning in your home. Some parents have 52 inch TV sets but not a single book shelf! It shows their preference. A child must be introduced to balance at their young age so that they can learn well.