How Au Pairs and Nannies Can Monitor Proper Television Viewing For Children
Television can have positive effects on children if we use programs to educate. Parents, nannies, and au pairs can tape videos of programs that tie into the children’s school lessons, interests, or hobbies. For example, adults should tape a show on dinosaurs or the planets from a Science Channel, a show about Christopher Columbus on the History Channel, a show about a favorite basketball player on ESPN, or look for ballets and concerts to tape for young dancers and musicians from the Public Broadcasting Channel.
Take advantage of the fact that many young children love to watch a favorite video over and over. If the parents agree and the video is age-appropriate and educational in-home childcare providers won’t have to worry about monitoring a video that the parents have already approved as appropriate for the children to watch.
When children are excited about a show they have seen on the television, follow up by taking them to the library and borrow books on the same topic. Compare how books and television programs on the same subject are different and similar.
Don’t assume that all cartoons are age-appropriate for children. Many daytime programs like soap operas and talk shows aren’t appropriate for young children. Tape your daytime shows and watch them when you are not working.
Talk with the children about the shows they see. Discuss what was good about a television program and what was bad in the show. Help children understand the difference between fantasy and reality. Television is also a powerful tool for selling and promoting toys and products.
Turn off the television during meals and when friends are visiting. Don’t allow school aged children to watch television until their homework is done, their pets are taken care of, they have practiced their musical instruments, and their daily chores are completed.
The goal is to allow children to watch only an hour of television a day. This may be a challenge at first, but is easier if you let the children help you decide what programs they are allowed to watch each day. You are a role model for children so refrain from making the television your primary recreation.
Children may balk at first at making changes in their viewing habits. You have to be prepared to stick it out by having many fun and interesting alternatives to television. You will be encouraged to reduce television viewing once you see the results. Not only will you see the children develop and grow, your bond with the children will increase as you do activities together.
What shows are your charges allowed to watch?