- Ask your child to tell you about favorite TV characters using different kinds of words.
- As your child watches commercials on television, ask him or her to invent a product and write slogans or an ad for it.
- Encourage your child to watch such programs as Reading Rainbow. Urge older children to watch such programs as 60 Minutes and selected documentaries. These programs are informative. Discuss interesting ideas covered in the programs and direct your child to maps, encyclopedias, fiction, or popular children’s magazines for more information.
- Have your child name 10 of his or her favorite shows. Ask your child to put them into categories according to the type of show they are, such as family shows, cartoons, situation comedies, sports, science fiction, or news and information. If you find the selection is not varied enough, you might suggest a few others that would broaden experiences.
- Prepare a monthly calendar with symbols such as a picture of the sun to represent an outdoor activity or a picture of a book to represent reading. Each time your child engages in a daily free time activity, encourage him or her to paste a symbol on the correct calendar date. This will give you an idea of how your child spends his or her free time. It also encourages a varied schedule.
- Ask each child in your family to pick a different color. Using the TV listing, have each child use this color to circle one TV program that he or she wants to watch each day. Alternate who gets first choice. This serves two purposes. It limits the amount of time watching TV and it encourages discriminating viewing.
- Devise a rating scale from 1 to 5. Ask your child to give a number to a certain TV program and to explain why such a rating was given.
- Have your child keep a weekly TV log and write down five unfamiliar words heard or seen each week. Encourage your child to look up the meanings of these words in the dictionary or talk about them with you.
A word to parents
Some important ideas to consider before turning on the TV: Limit in some way the amount of TV your child watches so as to leave time for reading and other activities. Decide how much time should be set aside for watching TV each day.
Serve as an example by limiting the amount of TV you yourself watch. Have time when the TV set is off and the entire family reads something. You may want to watch TV only for special shows. Before the TV set is turned on, encourage your child to select the programs he or she wishes to watch. Ask your child to give you the reason for the choices made.
In addition, watch some of the same TV programs your child watches. This helps you as a parent share in some of your child’s daily activities.