Tips for Parents
Using TV Wisely
(From PBS Families)
- Turn the Program On
Whenever possible, watch your child's favorite programs together.
Sing and dance with the music. Answer the character's questions. Talk
about what you see and what you wonder. When you participate together,
you child learns more and you both have fun.
- Name the things you see and make connections to your child's
life. This builds vocabulary and understanding. Look at the
squirrel! Remember the squirrels we saw in the park? What were
- When you don't have time to watch a show together, share the
experience by talking about it. Ask your child: What happened
on the program? Why did she do that? These conversations strengthen
your child's memory, thinking, and speaking skills.
- Use a VCR to tape programs. Watch them later, at a time that
best fits your family's schedule.
- In a balanced day, 1-2 hours of TV or computer time is plenty.
Use the rest of the time for other important childhood activities.
- Turn the Program Off
When the program is over, turn off the TV. Help your child find
something to do away from the screen.
- Build a dragon house with blocks. Play make-believe. Hop like
a lemur or wiggle like a snake.
- Help your child link what you're doing to things you saw on
TV. If the Sesame Street "Number of the Day" is 6, say: Let's find 6 markers and make a picture for grandpa. Or
point out: We're taking turns, just like Barney and Baby Bop!
- Visit the library. Look for books on topics that interest your
child, like airplanes or monsters. Explore the Web site of a favorite
PBS Kids show on the computer.
Choosing Shows with Your Child
(From PBS Families)
Find a group of children's programs that you think are good and let
your child pick his or her favorites. Children often have strong opinions
about which TV shows they like best! Here are some tips to help you
choose programs that are best for your family.
Look for shows that:
- encourage creativity and thinking.
- invite kids to respond, sing, dance, and read.
- teach values that are important to you and your family.
- have an appropriate TV rating.
Avoid shows that:
- show violence as a way to solve problems.
- are racist or sexist.
- show things that scare or confuse children.
- seem to make your kids behave in ways you don't like.