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Dr. Joanne Meier

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne every week as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

TV for tweens

January 27, 2009

It's hard for me to believe that Molly is really a tween, but sometimes she sure acts like one!

This is never more apparent than when it comes to her TV habits. Our girls have never been allowed to watch much TV — maybe 30 minutes a day during the week, and lots of days the one set we own never gets turned on.

But lately Molly's been more and more interested in watching TV, and less and less interested in watching her former favorite shows. "That's for babies," she exclaims when I offer to turn on Charlie and Lola or Wonder Pets. She's clearly moved into the next stage of TV shows designed for tween audiences. There's a whole slew of shows she wants to watch, and not many that I'm willing to let her. A bit of a struggle going on around here!

I'm not the only one grappling with this issue. Diane Levin wrote an interesting article for PBS Parents about protecting children from a sexualized childhood. In it, Levin describes some of the strategies parents can use to work with (rather than against) their children. I suspect several of the strategies could be applied to our TV watching situation.

While we're working with those strategies I'm also using two resources to help me find new and appropriate shows for Molly and Anna. First, PBS's Child Development Tracker recommends PBS shows by age level. And for other shows, Common Sense Media has TV and movie reviews that I generally trust.

How about you? How do you navigate the water between what your child wants to watch and what you think is appropriate?

Comments

Thanks for the PBS link. My daughter who is six wants to watch all those tween shows too. Its hard to say no,but I know that they are not appropriate for her. Its even harder when all her friends are watching them and she doesn't understand why I am mean. lol

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