TV for kids: Freeview Viewtrition Campaign

publication date: Nov 24, 2008
author/source: Dr Tanya Byron

Healthy balanced viewing

  • Monitor your family’s viewing habits for a week.
  • Balance time spent watching TV against time spent in other healthy and enriching activities.
  • Make sure your viewing is as viewtritional as that you wish for your child.

Viewtritional content

  • Research, read up about and discuss with other parents the relative value of programmes watched.
  • Choose programmes that complement your child’s interests and also challenge their learning.
  • Plan and record your children’s balanced TV diet.

Don’t snack

  • As you don’t want your child to graze on junk food all day – don’t let them graze on junk TV all day.
  • Pre-record and series link those programmes that you find nutritional using a digital TV recorder.

Don’t gorge

  • Monitor time spent watching TV.
  • Use TV – for a limited time - as an incentive after other important tasks have been done.

Don’t consume alone

  • TV is best enjoyed and has greatest impact for children when shared and discussed – this is called “co–viewing”.
  • Pause and rewind  live TV using your Freeview+ box, and discuss what’s on the screen.

Be active when watching TV

  • Ask questions of your child as you are watching – the pause button on digital TV consoles can help with this.
  • Get interactive via the red button and also going onto TV programme websites.
  • Use the TV programme as inspiration for other activities – a “web of learning”.
  • Use TV to capture your child’s curiosity and then build on this with books  or discussion.
  • Help your child understand links between what they view and the wider world.

Keep TV as a delicious treat

  • Limit them to watching the main family TV set
  • Make sure the TV is not on all the time so that it becomes valued and appreciated when it is
  • No TV at meal times
  • Pre-record family programmes that can be enjoyed all together

Help your children learn about Viewtrition

  • Discuss what they are watching and why.
  • As they get older let them decide with you what they enjoy (and why.
  • Recognise that a little bit of junk here and there is not going to cause long term damage in most children – so be calm.

You can download a free copy of A parent's guide  to quality TV for kids from