This site has frequently talked about the possible negative consequences of a child watching excessive amounts of TV, and we have even talked about how to limit the amount of time a child spends watching TV.
However the fact is that the TV is a fixture in most children’s lives that is not about to disappear anytime soon and there are many reasons why it is a good idea to watch TV with your child at least some of the time:
Watching TV with your toddler or infant can not only help you select exactly what the child should be watching it will also help a child understand the program better when you explain it to the child.
Many programs are interactive, and invite children to sing along, repeat after or dance along, which you can join in with your child and encourage him or her to participate in. The child’s comprehension of what is going on, on the screen will obviously be better when a parent is watching.
With an older child it is important to keep track of what a child is watching. By the time a child is old enough to read he or she can very well select exactly what they want to watch, which may not be suitable or age appropriate.
It is important to monitor not only the program but also the kind of commercials that run on the program. Watching a science program where chemistry experiments are being shown may be a great idea; you can also encourage your child to carry them out at home and you can promise to help as well.
Watching TV with your teen or preteen may well be a bit trickier and may have to be handed more delicately. In this scenario, a parent watching TV with their teen may well be construed as unwelcome prying.
In this case a parent has to have some real interest in what the child watches which may well actually be entertaining for the parent.
You could try explaining that this is a good way to spend some family time together. In any case you cannot do this too often, however some TV viewing with your teen will give you some insight into the way that your child behaves, their friends, their likes and dislikes and the things that are important to him or her. So do it occasionally and not as a watchdog activity.