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Making the Most of Screen Time

Watching shows and videos with your child can be helpful for your child’s emotional and academic development. Viewing together or “co-viewing” helps us see and hear what our children see and hear. Shows and videos provide our children with information — some are factual and some are not. Images on the screen can also bring out strong feelings. When we watch a show or video with our children, we can ask questions to help them think about what they see and learn.

We can also help children make connections to what they learn at home and in school. If your child is watching a Wild Kratts episode, ask your child which animals are the same as those in a book that you have read. Where else have you seen this animal? Maybe you saw it on a trip to the zoo. This changes just viewing a program to active learning.

Programs might also reveal your child’s interests. If they are excited about a Pinkalicious and Peterific episode, you might decide to paint together using your child’s favorite color or maybe explore patterns like Peg + Cat.

Co-viewing a show or video with our children lets us talk about important ways to socialize and interact with others. An Arthur episode might show someone being a good friend and may also show someone not being a good friend.  You can also talk about how it feels good to be liked by others and how to handle peer pressure. When families and children watch media together, you share ideas and feelings, which presents an opportunity for learning.

Other ways to extend learning:

  •  Find books that highlight the content of videos your child(ren) enjoys.
  • After your child watches a video, encourage them to draw a picture about what they saw or heard.
  • Plan to do activities with your child that relate to the theme or story of a video they watched.
  • Encourage your child to talk to the television or screen when they are watching a video.
  • Choose videos for your child that encourage creative and critical thinking to encourage your child to learn and discover more.  
  • Help your child make connections between what they see on the screen and their own everyday life.

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