Turn Off That TV

Turn Off That TV. How to encourage your daughter to get out and play

It’s the lazy days of summer and your little girl is getting her fill of all her favorite television characters. While a little entertainment is fine, her day shouldn’t be consumed by T.V. If she starts reciting the words to her favorite shows, then it’s time for her to get outside!

While some kids are content with playing outside, others would rather plop in front of the T.V. and watch Nickelodeon® or Noggin® all day. It’s even worse if they’re watching shows not tailored to their age. Studies have shown that too much T.V. can lead to:

•    Obesity. Children that watch too much T.V. are more likely to become obese since they are not up and moving around. Also, children tend to eat snacks while watching T.V. This aides in the problem as well.

•    Misinterpretation of reality. Many young children do not understand the difference between real and make believe. They may develop a false sense of reality which can confuse, and even scare, them.

•    Social development issues. It can make it harder for a child to interact with other children if they’re not out playing with them. This, in turn, can create an anti-social child.

•    Changes in the child’s behavior. Young children may act out something they see in a cartoon. They think that gliding on ropes and bonking their friends on the head is harmless. Children reason that if the cartoon characters don’t get hurt, then their friends won’t either. They mock what they see and don’t grasp the concept that acting-out these things can be dangerous.

•    Learning problems. While some shows are educational, others are not. Watching too much T.V. takes time away from your child that could be used for doing homework, studying, or reading. Research suggests that too much television can cause problems with focusing in school and lack of interest in learning.

Not all T.V is bad T.V. Certain programs tailored for educational development are fine for a child to watch. However, there is also a downside. While children are getting their fill of knowledge, they are also missing out on the opportunity to exercise and get fresh air. It’s a catch-22. While a lot of programs are designed to teach children lessons, they are still preventing them from doing other things. Instead of letting your daughter use up all her free time channel surfing, try these fun activities to get her up and on the move!

•    Go outside and play! Turn on the hose and get wet while washing the car. Play a game of tag. Go to the park for family time. The best way to encourage your daughter to get outside is to be out there with her.

•    Set a limit on how much T.V. she can watch. Give her a time block, usually around her favorite shows, and stick to it. This way she won’t feel like she’s missing her favorite characters and will resist rebelling when it’s outdoors time.

•    Watch T.V. with her. This is more for monitoring than anything else. You don’t want her to watch shows that are inappropriate for her age. This allows you to monitor the shows she’s watching as well as some bonding time.

•    Keep the T.V. out of her room. Having a T.V. in her room will inhibit her more than anything. She won’t even have to get out of bed to watch it! It’s best to keep the T.V. in the living/family room where it can be controlled by you.

•    Encourage her to make neighborhood friends. Little girls love having friends! This not only gives them someone to play with, but somewhere else to play. Make sure you discuss rules with the other child’s parents so that everyone is on the same page.

There you have it; five simple ways to get your daughter up and active. You will be met with some resistance if she’s an avid T.V. watcher, but with time and repetition she’ll grow less and less dependent on television and become more and more active. You’ll also get to spend more time with her and become more active yourself. You can even make playtime a family event. It’s a win-win situation!