You asked

What are the ‘rules' for letting my child watch television?

Television has become the standard form of entertainment for children around the world, however, experts agree that a child of two and older should not be watching more than two hours of television per day.

To make that seem like more to a young child, you can let your child watch television or other programmes in short increments – of fifteen or twenty minutes each. Don’t set a hard and fast limit either. That way, you stay in control, and if there’s something your child really wants to watch, he or she will have to ask your permission – and you can decide whether it’s worth watching.

Keeping the television in a lockable cabinet, or out of the centre of your house is another good idea. This makes it physically unpleasant or difficult to watch television, and makes your child less likely to watch more as ‘background noise.’

Plan your viewing - and your child’s - and choose which programs you want to watch. When those are finished, switch off the television, instead of leaving your child to watch whatever comes on next. You also want to choose quieter, calmer programmes that your child will be able to process easier.

When your child is watching television, watch with him or her. This has been proven to be linked to academic achievement, with children who watch with their parents, or a parent, scoring higher academically than their peers who don’t. Talk to your child while you watch, explaining what is happening, and encouraging questions, and most importantly, set a good example yourself.

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