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ahindra
ahindra asks:
Q:

How can I help my 12 year old son to get him to learn rather than watching TV while it's reading time?

In Topics: Helping my child with reading, Children and screen entertainment (TV & movies), Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Feb 5, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

Thanks for writing to www.education.com with your parenting question.  Motivating your son to read rather than watching television could be as simple as establishing a goal and keeping track of that goal daily.  Marking a calendar page that has been posted on the refridgerator with the amount of minutes he reads per day would be a simple reminder of the plan.  If your son reads an average of 20 minutes per day for the month he can earn a mutually agreed upon privilege.  The privilege need not be anything expensive.  Anything that inspires your son would work.  Consider providing your son the chance to pick an outing such as a trip to a climbing wall at a nearby park or the chance to have a friend stay overnight for a sleepover.  

If your son is in need of more frequent reward, you may want to decrease the number of days in order to earn a privilege.  For instance you could have him choose the snack he would like after three days of reading in a row or can even reduce the reward to a one to one ratio.  Allowing him to stay up for an 20 minutes if he reads for 20 minutes might be a reasonable trade off.

Television is a privilege and should be treated as such.  Make privileges in your home contingent on completing the tasks that are responsibilities like chores, homework and anything else that builds character (such as volunteering to help family or community).  

For more information on parenting strategies including additional suggestions on how to set limits and increase motivation please visit www.parenting.org or call the Boys Town National Hotline at 1-800-448-3000.  

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Additional Answers (10)

dgraab
dgraab , Parent writes:
Hi, It sounds like you may need to set some limits regarding the television (such as unplugging it during reading or homework time, or requiring that those be completed before the television be turned on).

Here are some resources that you may find helpful to this parenting challenge...

Positive Discipline
http://www.education.com/topic/positive-discipline/

Parenting in the Digital World
http://www.education.com/special-edition/digital-world/

Pre-Teen Years
http://www.education.com/age/preteen-years/

Children and Television
http://www.education.com/topic/children-and-television/

All the best to you as you work to resolve this issue.
> 60 days ago

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shorthorns
shorthorns writes:
you should gain discipline with the children of which you care for.
> 60 days ago

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dhfl143
dhfl143 writes:
You might also consider using his TV time to your best advantage by turning on the "closed caption" feature that will allow him to read while he is watching TV.
> 60 days ago

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Relle
Relle , Student writes:
Maybe get him a good book in his on intersest.
> 60 days ago

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mopman527
mopman527 writes:
well most tvs have a parental control setting, set it as locked from -:-- to -:-- or how ever long you want him to read
> 60 days ago

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Jackolynn
Jackolynn writes:
Well discipline would be a good start. Who is the boss you or him? If tv is a large problem I would set some rules. Unplugging is a good idea but so is just taking the tv out of the equation. Put it in your room or someplace out of his sight. Make him pick a book that he is interested in. My parents always made me read at the kitchen table at the same time everyday. Maybe that will help him. Though if I were you...I would just tell him he can't watch tv until his reading is done. Remember, you are the parent not him. Don't give into him, stick by what you say.
> 60 days ago

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LDSolutions
LDSolutions , Child Professional writes:
Reading is a skill that needs to be practiced regularly. Without practice, young readers will not develop the vocabulary, the skills, and the fluency necessary to become strong readers.  But many children, even those with strong reading skills, do not get enough practice and as a result become disinterested in reading, and can quickly become discouraged.  Here are some practical tips for encouraging reluctant readers:

Find books with cartoons or humor  -- which only a child would find amusing.

Not everything needs to be a learning lesson.  Letting children read books such as Captain Underpants or Diary of a Wimpy Kid will keep them engaged and entertained.  Although adults might find the language and humor distasteful, children find it very funny and are therefore more motivated to read.


Zero in on your child's passions and choose books and magazines focused on areas of interest.

Find books on specific topics to keep your child's interest, such as science, baseball, American Girl dolls, etc.  Children who already have the background knowledge, language and vocabulary before beginning a book will have an easier time getting through the reading.

Get your child an email account

Using the computer to read and write is a huge advantage for most students.  By letting young children write and send email, they practice reading, writing and spelling.  Teach your child how to use spell check before sending off messages. Be sure to monitor your child's 'pen pals' -- who is your child writing to and receiving mail from? Let your child pick out a few family members, including grandparents and maybe two or three friends.  You will find that by using email regularly, your child becomes very strong in typing (keyboarding) and using the computer.

For more tips and ideas you can visit the following site:
> 60 days ago

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Loddie1
Loddie1 , Parent writes:
Hello, try a biography on someone he is interested in. I found this works really well and you both can read together at night. We are reading the life of Eleanor Roosevelt right now.
> 60 days ago

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karanu
karanu writes:
You have to be very specific with the child and instill the importance of reading. Something interesting can always be added at that time.
> 60 days ago

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Jacobsmommy
Jacobsmommy writes:
When it is reading time, turn the TV off. If that doesn't work, maybe put him in a room where there is no TV. If you have to sit with him while he reads then maybe you should do that.

Maybe a schedule would help. Set different times for TV watching and reading/homework.
> 60 days ago

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