|Why TV Is Good For Your Child
by SARA AHMAD
Research shows that television can have many educational and social benefits
Toddlers who watch small screen heroes such as Dora the Explorer have a wider vocabulary at the age of two-and-a-half than non-viewers and learn quicker, research has shown.
And in what the experts have dubbed the Pokemon phenomenon, children also learn better manners and how to respond in a positive way through watching their favourite TV programmes.
Far from being the evil electronic monster turning our babies, toddlers and children into a generation of square-eyed 'layabouts', research has proved that not only is television good for kids – it actually makes them smarter. There's no doubt that TV gives children a broader, more vivid imagination and helps with creative play and fantasy. It's also an incredible resource for learning and gaining emotional knowledge.
TV shows can be informative in different ways. On the one hand, the more educational shows provide factual information about the world, our body, health, fitness and so on. Other shows based on the life of characters address social and emotional issues that are depicted theatrically to model relationship functioning, conflict resolution, problem solving, and building resilience. Children relate these stories to their own lives and learn rules through their TV but can serve as a great way to reinforce the message to children.
Getting Off To A Great Start
The effects of this early learning are far-reaching. Twenty-five years after the first Sesame Street episode aired, researches traced early viewers and discovered many of them achieved higher grades in English, math sans science throughout school. This suggests that those who watch educational programming enter school with learning skills that make them more interested and motivated learners, which sets them up for academic success.
But it's not just about edutainment – eduction and entertainment. Children's TV has changed the way children – and society – think over the years. In the West, an episode of children's favourite show Rainboy in the early 1980s, showed the mum going out to work while the dad stayed at home, changed an entire generation's views on gender roles and stereotyping.
And popular programmes like Dora the Explorer, Scooby Doo and Bob the Builder teach children problem-solving and communication skills while they watch.
But even purely entertainment kids' programmes, like cartoons, which are not designed to be educational, can help children learn.
Lessons In Life
And the right shows can teach a lot more than just numbers and letters. Children who watch TV with their families are emotionally more mature, having been exposed to a variety of experiences through the small screen – even ones that can be controversial.
TV programmes can encourage thinking skills whereby parents can use information from shows to ask children their views. It can help kids think about different perspectives and encourage them to share their own, even when they differ from others. For example, a parent might ask a child what they would do if they found themselves in the same situation as the protagonist in a TV show. This can help them sift through their options and develop important reasoning abilities.
Logging Reading Time
Strategies to help your child develop a passion for reading
Some schools send reading logs to encourage kids to read at home. Or you might have considered creating your own reading log to help your child make reading a daily habit. Many children are excited about a reading log and keeping one, inspired them to read for 15 to 20 minutes a day (20 advocates of reading logs for kids aged six to eight years). As kids become older and begin reading books on their own, they would not need to use a reading log.
Making Logs Work
Here are some factors that can make children enjoy keeping reading logs:
Quality Time: Reading is an activity that younger children do with parental supervision. So, reading time is time spent with you and therefore something young children are likely to look forward to.
Book Choice: Helping children build a small library of their own at home inspires them to fill up their logs frequently. They will enjoy choosing different books of their own unique interest or start collecting a series such as 'Cat in the Hat,' so that they can project the variety in their reading logs.
Appreciation: Conversation around the reading logs both at home and at school motivates children to keep up with their logs. Feedback from parents or teachers motivates them and makes the log give them a sense of accomplishment.
When Children Resist Logs
Some children resist reading logs and perceive them as unnecessary extra 'homework'. Many parents feel that they are unnecessary, too. If your child has this sort of reaction to the log, there is no harm in discontinuing it altogether for a while. Or, get your child to choose when and how much to read without paying attention to all the details a log might ask for.
Home Reading Logs
If your child's school does not have a reading log practice and you want to try it out as a tool to boost your child's reading, go right ahead. It can be lots of fun to choose, make and keep a reading log at home.
Reading logs are usually monthly. To make your own, you can simply use a monthly calendar that has enough space to write the book details in daily squares. Or, look up the many reading log templates available online which you can either print out or get ideas from on making your own.