Your 6 1/2-year-old: Managing media

Your 6 1/2-year-old: Managing media

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Your 6-year-old now

Many parents limit screen time by keeping TVs and computers in a central place – out of the child's bedroom – but there are other ways you can manage your first grader's screen appetite:

Start by setting firm rules on what's permissible. Make sure your child asks before turning on anything.

Get involved. When you play with your child, you learn about why he's fascinated with WebKinz. Your child also gets excited and feels special if you take an interest. Keep talking about what's watched. These don't have to be long, drawn-out discussions; just a comment here and there will sink in and teach your values. "Did you hear him talk back to his dad? Do you think that his mom give him a fair consequence?"

Perhaps the best thing you can do is to educate yourself about being a savvy technology consumer. Do you know how to set parental controls on your screen time devices? If you have a recording service, check to see if there is an option to weed out commercials. Do you know exactly what movie and video games ratings indicate?

Your life now

Is your family in the juice habit? If you've been serving your child juice since his preschool days at snack time, you may want to reconsider. Your child could better use the vitamins and fiber from whole fruit, and juice drinking is associated with a higher risk of cavities. Start the habit of serving water with snacks and milk at meals. You'll save money over the years, too.

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