Many children will ask for a TV in their bedroom as they become older and more independent. On one hand, putting a TV in your child’s room can alleviate arguments over the remote control. You can watch what you want and they can watch what they want. It also gives your child a sense of responsibility – when they’re old enough, they can decide what to watch and for how long.
Despite these benefits, there are also valid reasons not to put a TV in your child’s room. The trick is finding the right balance. If you’re not sure whether your child would benefit from having a television in their room, here are a few tips to help you decide whether this is a good idea for your family.
1. You can’t always monitor what they’re watching.
Putting a TV in your child’s room can make it much harder to monitor what they’re watching, especially if their bedroom isn’t near your bedroom or if it’s away from the living area. When children are alone in their rooms, they can easily set their eyes on programs you may not approve of.
You can require your child to keep the bedroom door open while watching TV. But even if you take these measures, it’s still difficult to keep a close eye on everything they watch.
If you decide to put a TV in your child’s room, see if you can set up parental controls on the television and restrict certain stations and programs.
2. They may not spend as much time with the family.
Another downfall to putting a television in your child’s room is that your child may spend less time associating with the family. With their own TV, cable box and remote control, their room could become their best friend. They might stay hidden for hours after school and on the weekends, engaging in fewer conversations with you and their siblings.
On the other hand, with a TV, you and your child could bond over your differences in television preferences. Start asking them what they watch and why they enjoy it. You might learn a lot about them based on what they watch!
3. Bedtimes might change.
Some children already have problems getting up in the mornings. Now imagine how hard it might be for them to wake up when they have 24/7 access to a television. If your children don’t have enough self-discipline, they might switch on the TV long after you’ve gone to sleep and become engrossed in program after program.
Even if you establish ground rules for your kids, a TV in their room can be too much temptation. And if they repeatedly go to bed late, it can be harder for them to rise in the mornings for school.
Before making the decision, have a talk with your child. Let them know they will become responsible for going to bed on time every night and getting out of bed in the morning, and if their sleep or schoolwork begins to suffer, the television can be removed as easily as it can be brought in.
4. They could become less active.
The more access your child has to a television set, the greater the risk of them developing a sedentary lifestyle. Children need physical activity to maintain their health. But with a remote control in their hands, they may find more enjoyment in channel surfing than outdoor activities with their siblings and friends.
If you think adding a TV in their room is a good idea, set a schedule for physical activity. Play baseball or hide-and-seek every week – this can help them not only stay active, but increase your family bonding time.
5. Keep an eye on their grades and study habits.
There’s also the risk of your child watching TV when they should be doing homework or studying. Again, it can be difficult to monitor your child’s every move when they’re home from school. You may assume your child is in the room studying, but instead they’re playing video games or watching television. And unfortunately, if they continually prioritize TV over studying, their grades could suffer the consequences.
Be sure to set the right boundaries before installing a TV. Require homework or study time on a daily basis. Let them know you’ll check on them during study time to make sure they’re getting the right activities done and that their entire day isn’t spent watching TV.
6. Their sleep could suffer.
Even if your children go to bed at a reasonable time every night, having a television in their bedroom could disrupt their sleep. Watching TV just before bed stimulates the mind in a way that could be detrimental to steady sleep.
Only you can choose whether to put a television in your child’s room. If you feel they are old enough and ready, set clear limits. You might restrict the number of hours they’re allowed to watch TV each night. In addition, make sure there are consequences in place for when your child breaks the rules. This way, your children can enjoy their independence without it interfering with their study, sleep and family routine.