I confess that I come down firmly on the con side of watching television before school. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a teacher or because I’m not a parent (it’s easy for me to say since I’m not running around after small children every morning), but this is something I feel very strongly about. And from talking to the other teachers at my school, I’d say that many of my colleagues agree. I’m not suggesting that television be cut from one’s life entirely–many of us watch television in our own free time (and willingly admit to it!)–but here are some of reasons why I suggest you eliminate it from your morning routine:
- Television interferes with the students’ ability to focus. The immediacy and speed with which television delivers information is known to shorten their attention span. When students come to school fresh from watching morning cartoons, it’s more challenging for them to begin the work of the day. Settling down to a chosen task, even if they desire to do so, doesn’t come as easily. I can vouch for this one personally!
- Television can overstimulate children and makes the tamer, cerebral aspects of their education seem “hard” and “boring.”
- Television is fun because it’s not reality. On the other hand it’s, well, not reality. When children begin the day immersed in the world of fantasy, it can be a struggle to shift to the real world.
- A no-television in the morning rule might actually make things easier. If the rule is no TV in the mornings, ever, then there can’t be any arguing when it’s time to turn it off or over who wants to watch what.
- Television isn’t active. It doesn’t ask the person watching it to engage, except perhaps emotionally. Throughout the school day, parents, siblings, teachers and friends will all be asking children to engage, to be active in a multitude of different ways. Why, then, begin the day with a passive activity like watching TV?
Sleep is like a reset button for the brain. No matter what happened yesterday, we can start anew today. Since we want our students to put their best feet forward, why not try it with TV-free mornings?