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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Parenting Tips: TV Teaching.... pt 3 social learning

Television can often be a good teaching tool about social interactions and character. You can help your children learn to recognize mistakes and strengths, risks and choices by watching with them and discussing what you are seeing during the ads. 

1. Start with younger kids by talking out loud to the tv or to the characters in the show so that your children can hear your reactions to what the characters are doing and being. ["That's not very nice!", "Being mean like that will hurt her feelings" etc. ]

2. As soon as your children can answer back, engage them in the conversation. ["Why is the Queen being so mean to the Princess?" or "Why do you think the Prince like's Cinderella better than her sisters?" etc. ]

3. During elementary school continue watching together, identifying and discussing the behavior and choices of the characters they watch.  

Note: Television is an especially useful took if you have a child or adolescent who struggles with social interactions.  Sometimes they can learn to recognize things on the screen before they can sense it in themselves or people to whom they are close. 

4. Entering middle school or junior high you can use the choices of characters in teen shows to bring up topics for discussion without seeming to pinpoint or corner your child.  Almost any given teen show episode will give you an opportunity to discuss your personal family values and how kids handle social behavior challenges and peer pressure.  Don't miss this golden opportunity! Research shows that teens who are clear about their own family's moral standards are better able to resist peer pressure. And... you can give valuable advice to your children by talking to the tv characters about other ways they might have handled the story's situation, other answers they might have given, etc.  New or old rerun shows work equally well. 

[This is the third installment of ways to use television as teachers.  Check out the posts on Feb 6 and 20th if you missed them and watch for part 4 on March 26th's School Bell.]

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