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Activities To Break The Harmful TV Habit

By Renee Mosiman, M.A. and Mike Mosiman

The Smarter Preschooler!A new study conducted by the Nielson Company found that children from the ages of two through five watch an average of thirty-two hours of television per week. That is approximately 4 1/2 hours per day.

Unfortunately, heavy television viewing in children is correlated with attention problems and poor academic achievement. Also, viewing patterns established early in a child’s life will set up patterns carried into later years.

Start limiting television viewing time when your children are young. It may be a struggle at first but it will be worth it in the long run. Your children will have greater attention spans and develop other interests rather than depend upon the television for entertainment.

Help guide your youngsters to other activities. While this list is not exhaustive, it can get you started with some TV alternatives.

Independent Activities:

  • Reading or looking through books.
  • Subscribe and read children’s magazine.
  • Listen to audio books.
  • Listen to music.
  • Play preschool musical instruments.
  • Put together jigsaw puzzles.

Have a variety and large quantity of toys. Make sure toys are readily available so kids can play anytime. Designate a special area or room for this purpose and make sure you rotate toys through so some that were hiding in the back of the closet can be rediscovered.

  • Include role-playing type toys such as doctor kits, kitchenware, play food, cash register, dolls, super heroes, old clothes, and costumes.
  • Get your child building toys such as Megablocks and Legos.
  • Play card games and board games.
  • Encourage kids to play outside. Have plenty of equipment such as balls, jump ropes, and sidewalk chalk to maintain the interest in being outside.
  • Have art and craft supplies readily available. Include such things as crayons, coloring books, stickers, construction paper, paint, and glue so that kids can work on art projects easily.
  • Purchase ready-made arts and crafts kits available at craft supply stores.
  • Get Playdoh and Playdoh kits for your kids to model with.
  • Get children interested in collecting things such as rocks or coins.
  • Do needlecraft with older preschoolers – things like looming or cross-stitch are some options.
  • Build models – kits are available for a wide range of ages and abilities.
  • Purchase ready-made science kits at toy stores or craft stores.

Parent Directed Activities:

  • Read books, magazines, and newspapers aloud to children.
  • Play with your child.
  • Have a family game night.
  • Cook or bake together.
  • Take your child for a walk or bike ride.
  • Play outside with your kids.
  • Take your kids to the park.
  • Take your kids bowling, skating, swimming, or play miniature golf on occasion.
  • Take your child to a kid-oriented place for a special treat. Places that have climbing structures for children such as McDonalds, Peter Piper Pizza, or Chuck E. Cheese provide fun away from the television.
  • Do a craft or art project with your kids.
  • Enjoy gardening with your kids.
  • Do a home project with your kids like cleaning, fixing, or painting.
  • Take your preschoolers on a field trip to the zoo, science center, or go to a history reenacment.

Activities With Others

  • Get your child together with peers regularly.
  • Sign your kids up for music, art, and dance classes, or any other class of interest.
  • Sign your kids up for a sport. Great ones for preschoolers include swimming, gymnastics, soccer, and T-ball.

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