Bridging the Gap Between Your Children and TV

By on May 12, 2015



You’ve got two choices: First, you can let your kids watch whatever they want, whenever they want. Second, you can try to ban them from TV altogether. The first option just feels like bad parenting. The second option, in reality, is quite impossible.

It’s time to find a third option. Here are a few candidates:

Make Sure There Is Always Something Wholesome to Watch

There is always something wholesome to watch. The problem is, you may not have access to it with your current content package. A television is like the internet. It is a conduit of information and entertainment. Information is not bad. It just may not be age appropriate. Kids are information sponges. They need a steady supply of appropriate information. Therefore, your TV has to be a conduit for appropriate information, and plenty of it.

If there really is nothing wholesome to watch when your kids are watching TV, then you need more content options. That means more channels. Conservative states like Oklahoma  and Utah will have different entertainment needs than states like Oregon and California.

You might need to opt for a bigger content package to accommodate more family friendly channels. Local Oklahoma DIRECTV, for example, offers a minimum of 100 channels. And it goes up from there, depending on the package. If you want to make sure there is always something good to watch, choose your content options accordingly.

Have Only Curated Content Options in the Home

If you have no TV in the home, they will just get it from some place else. Did you know that almost any smartphone can be used as a TV? One option is to pay only for services that cater to a certain type of programming. There are some that would pay extra for a package that only had TV-Land and the Hallmark channel.

While that package does not exist, The cable and satellite companies are now offering family-friendly content packages that limit you to channels such as Disney CW, and the Science Channel, along with local networks. Choose carefully, though. Some packages will not include popular options like Discovery, Animal Planet, Food Network, and the Travel Channel. It is always tricky when you let someone do the curating for you. But until content options are completely à la carte, this is the best we can do with the major providers.

There are Netflix-style packages for kids on the Internet. These are paid services that you will have to research carefully. The problem is, once you get kids used to getting their entertainment from the Internet, you open up an even bigger world of issues than what you were trying to escape.

Teach Your Kids How to Contextualize Content

Rather than trying to restrict TV content, teach your kids how to contextualize it. The best way to do that is to watch TV with them. Don’t turn it into some kind of punishment. Let them watch what they like, then talk about it together. When you do that, it doesn’t really matter what they watch, because you are doing it together. And you can use any content as a springboard to teach the lessons that are important to you.

Action movies, scary movies, sexy movies, funny movies: they all have their place in life. They may be too young to understand a lot of it. But they are likely going to see them anyway, with or without you. If they see it with you, then you get to shape the message. Also, by watching their shows with them, you might discover that you have less to fear from TV than you thought.

You can’t ban television. Nor can you leave it plugged into 500 channels to raise your kids for you. But there are plenty of good alternatives between those extremes. With a little bit of specialized parenting, you can make the TV an ally rather than an enemy.


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How to Move Kids in to their own Bedrooms

By on November 26, 2012

It is quite common for nursing mothers to have their babies sleep in bed with them. Aside from minimizing the sleep disruption for night time breastfeeding, it is also a good way for moms to bond with the babies. Most parents allow their kids to sleep with them until they are old enough to have their own bedrooms. Some kids get to have their own rooms as early as the toddler age of 3 to 4 while others extend up to their school ages. Providing the kids with a bedroom of their own is easy, getting them to sleep there is a different story.

Getting the children to sleep in their own beds get more difficult the longer they sleep in their parents’ bed. Start teaching the kids the value of independence by giving them their own bedrooms as early as possible. Furnish it with colors and decors that are attractive to them so they can enjoy the room. Consulting them on what they want for their room can also give them a sense of responsibility and help take extra care of it.

Unfortunately, bribing the kids with the bedroom of their dreams doesn’t work for everybody. There are some children who keep crawling back to their parents’ bed despite the expensive furnishings in their rooms. In such cases, parents should find out where this need for co-sleeping is coming from in order to find the best solution. Sometimes children like to stay with their parents during bed time because of night time fears. Helping the children overcome these fears can help them start sleeping in their own beds permanently. There are also children who got used to sleeping in their parents’ bed and simply don’t see the point of sleeping on their own bed. Parents should take time to explain the importance of having one’s own space in the house and being independent. Treating the transition to their own room as a milestone can help make kids appreciate the change and spend their sleeping hours in it.

Encouraging the children to sleep in their own rooms is a process that needs time and patience. These changes should be made gradually with parents being gentle in their approach but firm with their stand to end the co-sleeping routine and start the kids on independence lessons.

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Museum Hopping With Kids

By on November 2, 2012
exhibit, kids museum
Passed by a free exhibit at the Museumsquartier.

Art imitates life, they say. This imitation of life is best experienced by visiting art museums. More than learning about art through textbooks and classroom sessions, nothing beats witnessing art pieces first hand. For kids though, the idea may not seem as appealing as going to the mall. If you plan on taking the tykes museum hopping, here are some things to keep in mind:

Know what to expect. Prior to the actual museum visit, educate yourself as much as you can about the exhibits you’ll be taking the children to. Check if they have an online brochure. See which areas will be of particular interest to your kids. If you have a clear idea of the places you’ll go to, you’ll be able to maximize your time for a visit.

Don’t do it all. (Except of course if it’s the Louvre.) Try not to cram everything in one visit. Just choose certain portions of the museum to check out, as kids are notorious for their short attention spans. There shouldn’t be any sort of pressure on you to visit every part of the museum. You can always come back another time.

window louvre museum
Inside looking out at the Louvre Museum

Relate art to real life. This is the heart of your museum trip. Try to make connections between pieces of art and the kids’ everyday experiences. As they look at artwork, have them talk about familiar things which it reminds them of. If they’re looking at a painting of children, for instance, have them compare the kids to themselves.

Make the museum trip memorable by having the kids pick out a souvenir from the museum gift shop. And this is a must for my kids. It could either be postcards, a pen, a bookmarker, a snow globe or a wind-up music box.

Museums are a better alternative than crowded and noisy malls. Kids will learn valuable stuff about art and bond with you at the same time. Try to make the experience a memorable one for them. Who knows, eventually, they may turn into “museum rats”?

elefant, museum
Elephant in front of the Natural history museum, Vienna

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Kids Going Online: When Too Much is Too Bad

By on October 30, 2012


The first time I threw up the morning after a wild night of hard partying and countless shots of tequila, I learned a valuable lesson: too much of anything is bad. That lesson I learned while conversing with the toilet is something that certainly applies to all other aspects in life.

When it comes to kids spending their time online, too much is definitely too bad. Whether they’re checking out their friend’s status on Facebook or exchanging Tweets with another tween, going online more than usual does more harm than good.

apps for kids, kids online
kids online

Playing online games for long stretches distorts their perception of reality. When a kid plays Grand Theft Auto, for instance, he might get the impression that stealing cars is acceptable. Most online games are peppered with too much violence, that the player’s subconscious inevitably picks up on this. Eventually, the aggression carries over into real life. Role-playing games empowers kids who play them. The lines between reality and fantasy become blurred.

Social networking sites are another type of forbidden fruit for kids in the online realm. In October 2012, news spread around the globe about a fifteen year old girl posting a YouTube video about being bullied. She later committed suicide. The bullying she suffered was not only offline but also online. Other kids maligned her on Facebook, and it simply devastated her.

Spending too much time online hampers a kid’s physical development. Instead of going outside and playing hopscotch or a quick game of basketball, some kids prefer getting their fingers calloused from all those online games. 🙁 A normal part of a kid’s development should include playing outdoors and getting his or her heart rate up. But with too much time online, hardly a drop of sweat trickles down his temples.

As parents, it’s our unwritten obligation to limit the time our kids spend online. We should be aware of the warning signs that our kids have had enough time online. As always, it’s best to lead by example. That’s one thing I want to “LIKE” 🙂 .


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By on October 25, 2012

there, miracle

The child must know that he is a miracle, that since the beginning of the world there hasn’t been, and until the end of the world there will not be, another child like him.

My sister-in-law gave birth last August. It was premature birth, we didn’t expect the baby to come so early. He has to stay at the Kangaroo care while sis-in-law would visit him to feed him and to spend time with him. Three days ago he is finally taken home. The little bundle of joy proved to me the meaning of love at first sight. I’ve only seen photos, I’ve only watched videos but my heart melts every single time.

It’s the same feeling but perhaps more intense then when I first lay sight of my newborn kids. They resemble each other in a way but they have different qualities too, I can stress that now that they’ve grown. This makes my conviction about God’s awesome power stronger. That he did not create two people alike, sure there are twins, triplets or so but they can never be exactly the same…there’ll always be a difference. Identity. Despite the differences, we’d love each of them equally. It is not an easy task. Patience dries up at the middle of the day and I personally would get angry at them. At the end of the day,what matters is that feeling that they’re cherished despite the anger you’ve shown that day. A tight hug, a kiss and an “I Love You” will go a long way.

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