Obama to Parents: Limit Kids’ TV Time


“There’s no doubt that Michelle and I have more resources and privileges compared with a lot of parents. We understand that, but I don’t care how poor you are – you can turn off the television set during the week.”

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama, who is spending billions of dollars to overhaul the U.S. public education system, says there’s one sure thing parents can do to help their kids learn, regardless of financial means: Forbid them from watching television on school nights.

Of his own daughters, Malia, 11, and Sasha, 8, Obama told Essence magazine: “The girls don’t watch TV during the week. Period.”

The first thing they do after school is homework. If they haven’t finished by dinnertime, around 6:30 p.m., they pick up where they left off after the meal. And after that, they can read until they hit the sack. Malia’s bedtime is 9 p.m.; Sasha’s lights go out a half hour earlier, he said.

The president discussed his daughters in response to a question about what parents can do to help foster learning.

Obama, who said he hasn’t missed a parent-teacher conference since taking office, said parents can stay in touch with their children’s teachers.

“Very early on, we set expectations for Malia and Sasha in terms of them taking responsibility for their own education,” Obama said. They got alarm clocks at age 4 to begin waking themselves up, making their own beds and getting themselves ready to get to school on time.

“We monitor them. But they are expected to be prepared to learn when they go to school,” he said.

He and first lady Michelle Obama also began reading to their daughters when they were babies, and encouraged them to appreciate education.

“There’s no doubt that Michelle and I have more resources and privileges compared with a lot of parents. We understand that,” he said in the interview, appearing in the magazine’s March issue. “But I don’t care how poor you are – you can turn off the television set during the week.”

(From the Associated Press)

Those who want to educate their children rather than wait for others to educate their children should join The Black Star Project in this effort at 773.285.9600 or visit our educational programs at www.blackstarproject.org.

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3 Responses to “Obama to Parents: Limit Kids’ TV Time”

  1. fred_53_99 Says:

    The tv tends to make a person passive and frightened.
    A few yaers ago Lifetime network did a movie about Fantasia. The same week a black woman name Williams was in space. The astronaut was a Dr of physics, Her wake call was lift every voice and sing. For one week Lifetime showed a movie about a home trained black woman would couldn’t read, had a child out of wedlock and wrote a song about Baby mamas being a badge of honor. While another black woman who spent her life in education and science, lived a life of self discipline is ignored. TV’s message is ” your daughters (black Ones ) should sing and hope they will be discovered rather than take life into thier own hands and study. You make the call. A daughter with the title DR or Baby mama would can sing but can’t read.

  2. Library Mom Says:

    I totally agree with this! Turn the TV OFF and parent your children!!!

    I began reading to my children when I was pregnant and throughout their childhood. I bought educational toys and taught my son to read when he was three and my daughter to read when she was four. When my children were younger, I instituted library night in our house. Beginning in the first grade through sixth grade, both of my children had to do weekly book reports for me. The only week they didn’t have to do a book report was the week of Christmas…yes; they did them in the summer as well. We would make weekly trips to the local public library and they would have to check out two books that they were expected to read within the week. They only had to do one book report per week based on the book they liked the best. I made sure the books were age appropriate as I read every book that they read. I graded the reports myself and sent them to school for their teachers to review and I quizzed them on the book they chose not to write a report about. Since I read the books too, they couldn’t fool me by checking out the same book twice. I spoke with their teachers at the beginning of every school year and the each of their teachers loved the idea so much they received extra credit for their work. I would make them answer the basic questions – who, what, where, when, why and how. They started in first grade by writing two sentences for each question and expanding to one or more paragraphs as they progressed in school. As a treat, they were also allowed to check out one video tape each that they could watch on the weekend. Library night only stopped when reading was no longer a requirement by the school. They both began foreign language study in grade seven. Needless to say, both of my children graduated from high school and entered college. One did not finish but is a productive member of society. The other works full time and is still in college full time. She receives excellent grades and plans to continue with school until she receives her master’s degree in nursing. They are both adults in their 20’s and are avid readers.

    When reading this, take into consideration that I was a single teen mom without a reliable support system. I hadn’t finished high school when I had my son nor did I have hooked on phonics or any of the programs or resources that are available today. I figured these things out on my own and showed them that there is a better way. I worked hard to support my children so my time was limited as I’m sure yours is. You just have to stand your ground when they don’t want to do it and know that this is for their own good. Trust me, they will thank you later…mine did.

    Library Mom~

  3. We weened our kids off tv with audiobooks. They might not be as good as reading, but they’re way more engaging than TV. There’s lots of sites to download them, but we use one site in particular because the stories are all original and free. Here’s the link, if anyone is interested. http://www.twirlygirlshop.com/moral-stories-for-kids

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