When is the best time to put a television in your children’s bedroom? It is an age-old debate. To be honest, there is no right or wrong answer here! We are all different and have different family backgrounds and upbringings. It is completely up to you and your parenting style on where you draw the line with your children.
At a very young age, I always wanted a 14 inch CRT television hung on the ceiling in my shared bedroom, but it never happened. The reason was clear. We just simply could not afford it as it was very expensive. We had to count ourselves lucky to own a 32 inch CRT television in the living room. In those days, our television sets were massive and ridiculously heavy, and there were no flat screen TVs on the market, like an OLED 4K TV, where the television set is flush with the wall.
The online electrical superstore, Reliant, has conducted research on the topic of children and TVs. They surveyed 680 parents and asked them questions about children’s TV watching habits and about putting a television in their bedroom. I am not shocked that 75% of children want a television in their room. Both of my children would love to have one in their bedroom and they both did have a small one in their room.
If you are reading this article, your child/children have probably been asking for a television in their bedroom for a while and you are looking for a little guidance. I am definitely not an expert, but these are my reasons for allowing them to have one.
Afford to Own
If you can’t afford to buy one or have to buy in instalments to please your child, then don’t even bother. Besides paying for the TV, you will have to pay extra electrical bills and maybe a subscription to a streaming service. Only buy a television for your children if you are financially stable. Always think about your long term finances.
Quiet Mum and Dad Time/Your Space
Having to constantly fight over the remote and what to watch? Although it is quality time to spend as a family, it does not always work, especially with different age groups. I don’t think your teenager wants to watch Frozen on repeat with your toddlers. Nor would you want to watch Peppa Pig after 7pm. If they have their own television in their own room, you can watch whatever you want in your cosy living room. Who would not like an extra few hours alone, or with their partner, now and again?
Best of all, you will have less clutter and mess in your living room from your children. Your own adult space! Drink a glass of wine in your cosy pyjamas without any stress.
Set Parental Control
Be strict with them on what they can watch and what they can’t. Set up the smart television with parental control, especially with apps and streaming services. My children do not have a YouTube app on their smart television as there are many videos that are not suitable for children under 16.
In 2015, YouTube launched the YouTube Kids app that contains a safe environment for children to explore YouTube and makes it easier for parents and caregivers to guide their journey. I did not set it up for my teenage children as they are too old for the content. Nevertheless, do check it out if you have younger children.
Set up a limited profile on streaming services to avoid them watching adult or violent shows. Not all films or dramas are bad though. I used to watch Hong Kong Cantonese dramas and this is where I learned how to speak Cantonese. It’s been a huge advantage for me, especially for ordering food at dim sum restaurants for example and there are lots of other things that you can learn from watching television programmes too.
Remove the Remote Control
Remove the remote control to avoid them using it secretly through the night. They should bring their remote controls to the living room each night before bedtime for safekeeping. Just like their phone. My children have to surrender their phones each night too.
Set Time Limit
I set them a rule where every hour they have a 10-15 minutes break before continuing to watch their shows. If they didn’t do it, they will not have TV time. This also applies on the weekend. If your children can’t control themselves, maybe put a timer on the plug.
It is important for them to sleep well without needing the TV on as background noise to fall asleep. I wouldn’t want ours to be part of the 45% of children who watch TV to fall asleep, according to the survey.
I also set a limit on the volume to protect them from hearing loss. I do worry that my children will suffer from noise-induced hearing loss as they often use headphones but fortunately the headphones limit the volume to 85 decibels.
Ultimately, I think only you will know when it is the right time to allow televisions in the children’s bedrooms. Watching television programmes can have a positive effect as long as the content is chosen carefully, and the screen time managed in a good way. It might work well for some children, while for others, it might become a distraction and lead to bad behaviour. Nevertheless, your life, your rules!
Disclosure: This is a featured post.