There's a lot of scary stuff on TV, and no matter how careful you are, your littlies will catch a glimpse of something you wish they hadn't. So how do parents avoid exposure to inappropriate content, and what can they do to address their children's fears?
While they're small, it's easier to take charge of the remote control. You are the best judge of what is appropriate for your littlies to watch, so decide where the limits are, and stick to them. Don't negotiate, and if you're not sure, err on the side of caution, and find an alternative program. Don't be afraid to say “no” when your kids' friends choose something inappropriate. You also have to be careful what you chose to watch when the kids are around. The evening news is one of the scariest shows on TV. And it's REAL.
If you have older kids too, make sure they're aware of the TV rules, and of their responsibility to protect their younger siblings from inappropriate content. Perhaps establish different TV times for different age groups, or identify exactly which shows are forbidden, so there isn't any confusion.
Be aware that young children may not realise that turning the TV off or leaving the room will make the scary things go away, and may not be able to express themselves with words. You may have to read their body language or behaviour to tell you that. They may wet the bed, hold on to teddy more often than usual, or draw scary pictures.
When your littlies express fear, avoid shutting them down, rushing them or dismissing them without proper discussion. Use open and inviting questions to elicit information and to make sure they know that they're being heard. Listening, hugging and soothing words can put your child a ease.
One of our jobs as parents is to protect our littlies. So swish your remote control, and magic them away before they bite.