- Preview a video or DVD before watching with your child so that you are comfortable with the content.
- Schedule time for viewing together with your child, just as you do with reading books. This provides a special time for the two of you to share. It's also a time to affirm or counter messages in the program as needed; a special time to discuss, share and relate the program to your own lives.
- Be active with the program be it before, during and also after watching. Do hands-on activities. Ask questions; role-play; introduce or extend the program by reading a book. Create art projects by drawing, painting or making books. Encourage participation: dance, move to the music, talk back to the screen and its characters. You can visit museums, neighborhood stores as well as parks.
- Learn to use the pause, stop and rewind buttons of your VCR or DVD player to your advantage. Technology gives you flexibility you can't get with televised programs. You can adjust preschoolers' viewing time to their attention span. School-age children gain a sense of control over their viewing and appreciate the sections they want to see again and again.
- Build upon your child's interests. Consider purchasing programs for their repeatability factor. As with reading books again and again, children like to view favorite movies over too. Their imaginations are stretched and new information is learned and integrated into their lives.
- Set up a media library along with your children's book library. Programs and storybooks with particular themes can complement and reinforce each other. Research has shown that watching literature based programs increases one's literacy.
- The visual medium is powerful! It is the key to learning and fun! Have a great time!
Here are some suggestions for making your video viewing more valuable.