It’s a question that most parents have to consider at some stage, “Should I let my kid have a television in their room?’, and there’s no straightforward answer. With pros and cons for putting a television in your child’s room, it comes down to a decision by the parent as to which one outweighs the other. Here’s what we know from parents like you regarding tv’s in their children’s bedrooms…
With 75% of children wanting a tv in their room and most of them starting to ask for that in infant school, if the conversation hasn’t come up yet, the chances are it will do soon! With three children aged six and under, we’ve already had requests from the eldest for a tv in his room (and, randomly, a toilet!). Here are some of the pros and cons we’ve discussed so far in trying to make that decision…
What are the benefits of my child having a television in their room?
They have their own space to relax
As the eldest of three children growing up, I distinctly remember wanting to have my own space as I started to get older but our eldest is definitely not a fan of going upstairs when the rest of us are downstairs. Whilst our middle child will happily disappear up there to play or listen to her music player, he’s terrified of missing out. By putting a television into our child’s room we would be encouraging him to use his own space more for relaxing, without having to miss his favourite shows or the chance to wind down after school.
It can help them fall asleep
With 45% of children using a tv to fall asleep, if your child struggles with going to bed, a television in their room could be a great addition. Whilst for some a tv can be distracting at bedtime, if your little one has a hard time switching off their brain after a busy day, the opportunity to focus on tv can help calm their mind and allow them to fall asleep.
It’s a chance to upgrade your family tv
Over time technology improves and it’s only natural that there’ll come a point where you’re ready to upgrade your family tv. Moving your old television into your child’s room is a great way to upgrade yours without the waste of getting rid of a perfectly good tv. In fact, is there ever a better excuse to treat yourself to something like an oled 4k tv whilst ‘gifting’ them the old family one? You’re doing it for the child’s benefit really!
Less fighting over what to watch
Hands up if you’ve had to referee a fight over what channel is playing? Or what show is picked? We have this battle daily… and that’s without us adults getting a say, or the toddler! An extra television in the house gives you more options to stop those disagreements, one can watch in one place, and the other in the other! Or, my personal favourite, leave the kids upstairs and claim the downstairs tv for yourself – perfect for as your children get a little older and bedtime is that bit later!
TV time can be hugely educational
Did you know that a television can teach children socialisation skills and life lessons? That’s right, tv time doesn’t just mean that your child is going to be zoned out and watching mindless shows. With a huge variety of educational programmes available now, your child can easily learn new skills such as a new language, how science works or keep up with the news (at their level of course), and that’s without considering access to things like YouTube.
They’ll thank you for it
It sounds ridiculous but I guarantee that as far is your child is concerned, you’ll get major plus points for letting them have a television in their bedroom. After all, if you’re currently considering it, it’s probably because they’ve been asking you for it. And sometimes (just sometimes!), it’s nice to give in to their requests and be the ‘cool’ parent for once, isn’t it!?
What are the drawbacks of putting a television in my child’s bedroom?
It’s a distraction
There’s no denying that a television in your child’s room is likely to be a distraction. Whether that’s from reading, playing or doing homework, it’s likely that your child will want the television on if they have it in their room and that will end up distracting them from whatever else they’re doing, which could mean they miss out on developing extra skills.
Their sleep may suffer
Whilst a tv can help many children to fall asleep, experts do recommend that you fall asleep in a darkened room and limit screen time prior to bedtime in order to get the best quality rest. There’s also a likelihood that your child would want to turn it on as soon as they wake, meaning their wake time gets earlier or they forgo that last bit of dozing before properly awakening
It can make your child anti-social
A tv in their bedroom can encourage a child to spend more time in their room which may sound incredibly tempting. But how do you balance this with then getting them out of their bedroom and ensuring that they’re still spending time interacting properly with the rest of the family or building socialisation skills, or play skills if they’re younger!
It can cause arguments
Let’s start with the fact that if you’ve got more than one child, you’ll need to consider that you’ll, at some point, have to replicate it for all of your other children. Next, you’re likely to want to set some ground rules about when the tv can be watched – considering things like when friends come over, homework times or how it should be used before and after bed. You’ll want to make sure that your child is fully on board with this and aware that the rules are in place for a reason, but we all know that there’ll be times when you have to enforce them and arguments will happen – that’s just how parenting works!
Like with most parenting decisions, whether you choose to put a tv in your child’s bedroom or not comes down to personal preference and should be based upon what works for your family. Whether you’re looking to encourage your child to have their own personal space for relaxing or prefer to keep their bedroom distraction free, there’s never a right or wrong answer – good luck in making a decision!