How children use media has a lot to do with who they are. Although no two kids are exactly alike, children generally go through the same stages of development. Knowing these stages can help you encourage your child to use media in new and creative ways.
What you can do: Take advantage of your child's openness and use Web sites and TV shows to explore new places and ideas. Encourage him to watch something or visit someplace new. Show him how by doing the same yourself.
What you can do: If your child plays video games with friends and siblings, minimize the competitive aspects and encourage everyone to be good sports. Try to offer some games that are less about winning and more about participation.
What you can do: Help your child learn more about his interests. Introduce him to Web sites, books and videos that have information about the things he collects.
What you can do: If your child is using instant messaging to connect with friends, give him tips on how to communicate clearly. Remind him not to give out personal information online to people he hasn't met.
What you can do: Try to keep TV from being a default activity just because it's familiar. Your child may be losing interest in TV, so now is a great time to encourage other kinds of activities, especially physical ones.
What you can do: Usually, your child's outbursts are over quickly, but occasionally he may "plot revenge" like characters in video games and on TV. Help your child find an outlet for his anger by giving him a chance to express his frustration using words, or suggest physical activities that get him moving. Point out characters on TV or in games who resolve conflicts in non-physical and non-aggressive ways.
What you can do: Help your child find Web sites and TV shows that feature life histories and interesting stories written at his reading level. Browse book reviews and talk to the school librarian for suggestions.
What you can do: Give your child guidance by talking about why a TV character does something and what makes a character's behavior right or wrong.
What you can do: Ask your child open-ended questions about the TV shows he watches. If he seems reluctant to discuss a show, bring up the topic another time.
What you can do: Be explicit about who gets to choose the next TV show and how to take turns using the computer. Your child wants to be reassured that you are treating everyone the same way.
What you can do: If your child likes following a schedule, try to be consistent and supervise his daily routines. For example, if the TV stays off until homework is done, gently remind him of this when he gets home from school.
What you can do: Help your child search for Web sites that appeal to his humor and that have word games with puns.