Main Line Parent published our “Tips for Watching TV with Your Kids,” a summary of which appears below. For the full article, visit http://mainlineparent.com/2014/05/6-steps-to-smart-tv-time-for-kids/.
1. Plan in advance what shows you both want to watch together.
Planning is essential. Do your research. Find out what the show is about and what you can expect before you sit down to watch. Read reviews and search the Parents Television Council’s “Family Guide,” for information about the volume and degree of sexual content, violence, or profanity in the program.
2. Pay attention to the TV ratings.
Not sure what a TV-14 rating means? Ratings aren’t what they used to be, and parents have to be careful.
3. Don’t assume that because a show is rated PG, it’s okay for your family.
Parents can often be caught off guard by adult content found on TV-PG rated shows. A recent PTC study found 10.8 instances of adult content per hour on PG-rated shows.
4. Make the popcorn and settle in.
It’s great to get snuggle time in with your kids. Make the time watching the show together count. Grab a snack and kick back.
5. Be an active viewer.
Even if you’ve done your research, you may still be caught off-guard by inappropriate content within the program or in a commercial. Make sure you’ve got the remote in hand so you can skip over the content or quickly change the channel, and use that opportunity to talk to your child about what they saw and why you felt it was inappropriate.
6. Talk about what you saw.
This is especially true if you have school-aged children. You can use lessons learned on the TV show to have meaningful discussions about issues that are relevant to their lives in a way they can relate to and understand.