15 Minutes of Family Fun – Watching Stories

15 Minutes of Family Fun – Watching Stories

15 Minutes of Family Fun – Watching Stories

Date posted: January 24, 2014

Today, in the last blog post before Family Literacy Day, we’re looking at one activity combining children and media – watching stories on television.

While television viewing has been shown to have both positive and negative influences on children, it is definitely an activity that most children participate in. Recent American research indicates that television is the medium children use most frequently, more than mobile devices, computers, and video games.

So, the question is how to use this experience to children’s best advantage. When used appropriately and when balanced with other activities, television viewing can enhance, not replace, creative play, language skill building, exploration, conversation, learning about the world, and social interactions.

What constitutes appropriate use? The Fred Rogers Center and National Association for the Education of Young Children co-authored a position statement on use of technology in early childhood programs for children from birth to age 8 that supports intentional use of technology that is appropriate for the child’s age, stage of development and personal interests and needs. For children under the age of 2, media use should support interactions between children and their caregivers because this is how infants and toddlers learn best.

Common Sense Media, a non-profit that provides information and education on how families and children can make best use of media, offers the following advice:

  • Make TV a family experience. Watch with children and talk to them about what they’re watching, hearing and learning.
  • Balance TV viewing with other activities.
  • Choose age appropriate shows.
  • Limit screen time (including television, computers, mobile devices). They suggest no more than 1-2 hours of screen time a day.

Looking for suggestions on what to view? Common Sense Media has online TV reviews of children’s material and recommendations for families. They also have a video series with general advice on choosing shows for children at different ages.

To learn more, click:
Co-viewing with Kids – includes ideas for when you aren’t able to watch TV with your child
Effective Co-Viewing: ideas on how to make watching TV a better learning experience for your children
Quick tips for watching TV with your child
In front of the TV

Family Literacy Day is celebrated on January 27th each year. This year’s theme is 15 Minutes of Fun!

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