Healthy Viewing choices for your kids

Healthy viewing choices for your children
 
It’s a constant battle with the media and all the technology around us. There is a lot of great things about TV, Video games and computers. There is an educational value on all three but what about the negatives. Below will be some tips on helping your children make healthy choices with TV, Video games and computer.
 
1. Research says young kids watch between 4-6 hours of TV ( this also includes video and computers).This is way too much time. A healthy amount of time to be spent in front of the TV and technology is 1-2 hours a day. This is also a realistic amount of time. Some research says less then an hour a day but as a parent we know this might not be realistic. 1-2 hours  a day is more realistic.
 
2. Offer alternatives to TV and technology. Have your kids signed up for activities that involve either socialization and/or physical activity. Also, offer alternatives such as: Board games, playing outside, arts and crafts, music/dance, play dates, etc. 
Have a flashback moment: When I was a child how did I occupy my time. Think of all the fun things we did as a child before video games/computers. We played outside, hide and seek, tag, swings, collecting leaves and rocks outside, we had puzzles, deck of cards, board games, etc
 
3. When your child watches TV, try to be involved. Watch the program with your child. Discuss the program afterwards. Ask questions: what did they like about the show? what was their favorite character? Etc.
 
4. Consequences of too much time in front of the TV, computer or playing video games:
Lack of physical activity which can lead to obesity. Children can also have less fresh air due to the TV, Computer and video games being inside games
Lack of socialization- they now say that teenagers are getting depressed due to social networking on their computers with such sites as face book and my space. Fight this battle with younger kids. Set up play dates.
TV shows include a lot of commercials – this puts you in a  tough situation because your kids will be constantly wanting/asking for new games, toys and sugary foods. Fight the battle by using DVD’s where there are no commercials.
It also affects their attention span.
 
5. The parent is the best defense against media. You have the control of how much they watch and what they watch. It’s important to know what your kids are watching on TV but also what games they play and what websites they visit on their computer. Make sure the computer is in a public space.

 

 
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About Finding your happiness

Diane Lang is a Therapist, educator, author and life coach. Diane has two books: Baby steps the path from motherhood to Career and Creating balance & finding happiness. Diane works as a Therapist and also is an adjunct at Montclair State University. This blog will help educate and empower you to live your best life! For more information please visit her website: www.dlcounseling.com
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