In setting up rules about television viewing — especially over the summer — be sure to monitor what your children watch.
Encourage them to choose programs that make them think; that are free of violence and sex; and that feature characters whose values are similar to your own.
When watching TV with your children, ask questions like, “Why do you think that person did what he did?” Encourage your children to ask questions as well, and answer them honestly.
Limit overall television viewing time. During commercials, review what you just watched and ask children to predict what will happen next.
Turn off the television if you see things on it that you don’t like — but be sure to explain to your child why you are doing so. Say: “I don’t like what those people are doing because . . .”
Remember that when children are watching TV it takes them away from other activities like reading and sports. Plan games, trips to the library, and trips to parks and playgrounds to take the place of TV.
Once you’ve established a basic foundation for TV viewing, try to find new ways of using the television to teach and to have fun. Television can help teach your child geography and math, for example.
Have reference materials or a computer near the TV so additional information is available. Have your child look up new words in a dictionary, or look at an atlas to find places mentioned in a show. This way it’s fun and educational.