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Monfredo: This Summer Let’s Control Tv & do Some Fun Activities…

Sunday, August 07, 2016


This summer as a former principal and now a school committee member I have attempted to inform  parents about programs taking place in the summer and about the danger of students sliding backwards academically if they are not engaged in reading and math.  I have offered advice on these topics and again want to thank our readers for their emails and their suggestions.

This week, staying with the summer theme, I want to encourage our parents to start, if you have not done so, monitoring the television watching in your home.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, American children spend an average of six hours, 32 minutes a day watching TV or using other media… that’s more time than they devote to any other activity except sleep.

Dr. Michael Brody, a child psychiatrist and chair of the television and media committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics stated, “Television has a very big influence and a lot of it is negative. There are hundreds of studies showing a connection between violence on TV and its impact on children… from aggressive behavior to sleep disturbances.”  Other studies show that children who consistently spend more than 4 hours per day of watching TV are more likely to be overweight.  In addition, the children who view violent acts on TV are  more likely to show aggressive behavior and  to fear that the world is scary and that something bad will happen to them.  

Child advocates urge more hours per week of educational programming and others in the field feel that zero TV is the best solution.  Some say it’s better for parents to control the use of TV and to teach children that it’s for occasional entertainment, not for constant escapism.   Thus, it’s important that parents monitor and set limits on the use of the TV.

I tend to support all of those ideas to a degree for I would like parents to set a time limit for the use of TV during school days – one hour per day ( and monitor what they are watching) with more time on the weekend.   In addition, researchers talk about the affect the TV has on our children under three for these years are considered a critical time for brain development.  TV and other electronic media can get in the way of exploring, playing and interacting with parents and others which encourages learning and healthy physical and social development.

The time to start controlling the TV is now during the summer months.  Try these ideas on summer days when you’re around the house and in your community.

•    CRAFT IDEAS – have a daily craft activity to do as a family.  Don’t know what to do visit the library for ideas.
•    PLAY BOARD GAMES – board games build thinking skills and are a fun way for the children to play and learn skills during the summer months.  You can also count money when playing the game of Monopoly.
•    TRACK DAILY TEMPERATURES – lots of math ideas here… ideas in averaging the temperature for the week, adding and more
•    GO OUT TO EAT – Do menu math at a restaurant , asking the children how much food they can afford with a certain amount of money.
•    WRITE A FAMILY COMIC STRIP – it can develop creativity, gets them to write and brings in the importance of humor.
•    READ EVERYWHERE YOU GO – street signs, billboards, and in stores and have the children keep a book in the car.
•    HAVE A FAMILY READING TIME – set up a special time for the entire family to read during the week.
•    WRITING IN A JOURNAL – keep the children writing sharp with a journal for they can write three to four sentences a day on what they enjoyed about the day.

Try some of these ideas instead of the “let’s watch TV” and make it a true family event.  The idea is to start now and have it carry over as the children start the new school year.  Try it and let me know how it’s working for you!


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