I have mentioned before that we limit the amount of television/computer time that our kids have. During the week days in school terms, I am also more selective about what it is that the children watch on the TV.
There are lots of programs that although they are rated G or PG, that I do not like the kids to watch. My reasons for not liking them vary from the messages they send to kids about body type, too much violence, the vocabulary used in the programs (e.g. doh, stupid, hate) or the associated advertising that comes along with that particular programme.
As a consequence, most of the programs that the kids end up watching during the week are on the channel of our national ad free broadcaster ABC TV. I record the programs in the morning and then the children watch them later in the day , at their scheduled TV time. On the week end they have a lot more freedom to choose what they would like to watch with their allocated time.
We agreed to this format in our family meeting and the flexible week end viewing was my concession to ensure that the kids needs were accounted for in our solution to the problem of “what we watch on TV”. Although not perfect, this solution allows me to minimise what I see as the most negative influences of TV, but the kids still feel that they have some exposure to “what every one at school watches”.
One of the great things about the shows that the kids watch during the week, is that most have an associated website that have learning activities related to the shows, or ideas for what parents can do to further explore issues that come up in the programs. I have listed below some of the programs on the ABC that we watch. Check them out and let me know if there are any quality kids TV programs that you watch, that we could tune into.
Playschool is a wonderful Australian children’s show that I too watched growing up. The above link will take you to the schedule for the show and it set outs what the theme for each week is. For example, this upcoming week’s theme on the morning edition is bags. The program notes takes you through the songs, stories, activities that they will be doing on each show and gives you instructions of activities that you can do and make with the kids.
The play part of the Playschool website, has games that provide an easy introduction to the computer for preschoolers. The Colour Game helps the preschooler learn mouse control and then there is also the Memory Game, which takes a familiar preschooler game and take it to an easy online format.
JUNIOR PRIMARY SCHOOL
Count Us In
This show introduces children to the basic mathematical concepts and language. It also has a great online game site, which would suit preschoolers up to about grade one children.
For the Juniors
An informative show, that has been developed using National and State curricula to help teachers and carers integrate the programs & activities into the classroom. This may sound like they are a little dull, but my children enjoy these shows.
This weeks topic is Transport and my kids, like most kids I think, like to know how things work. They also have fantastic background information and related activities for you to do with your child.
UPPER PRIMARY SCHOOL
Behind the News
Behind the News is a news and current affairs program aimed at upper primary and lower secondary students. Each program is built around major news stories of the week, providing background information not usually given in news bulletins. Thinker has inherited my love of current affairs and he really enjoys this show and has even subscribed to their free podcasts. Quite often I learn something from this show too!
The BTN website is very comprehensive. It provides transcripts from the shows, quizzes and games and teacher/parent resources.
For more educational type programs, check out the ABC Schools TV Guide. There are some interesting and thought provoking programmes for the kids to watch, as a parent I just have to seek them out.