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How much television for kids?

How much television for kids?

Some recent research can give you new information to help you decide what is right for your family.

  1. Infants and Toddlers: A study revealed that children are placed in front of the TV, as background noise, while engaging in other activities for nearly 4 hours each day.  Younger children, ages 8-23 months, had even more time in front of the television, 5.5 hours per day. This background television time is in addition to the 80 minutes of active television watching to watch. That totals more than 5 hours a day of exposure to television media. Researchers attributed this time to parents using the TV to break up the monotony of being with an infant or small child for long stretches of the day. (Pediatrics, November 2012)
  2. Pre-school: The quality of the programs a child watches has an influence on his or her behavior. A recent study revealed how the behavioral development of children aged 3 to 5 years is affected by the type of programming they viewed. When parents reduced their child’s exposure to aggressive and violent programming and substituted educational and inspiring programming, the child had less aggression and was less difficult to parent, as well as being more empathetic, helpful, and concerned for others. These changes occurred even when the number of TV watching hours remained constant. (JAMA Pediatrics, March 2014)
  3. School-age and Teens: For older children, studies have shown that having a television in the bedroom is linked to increased weight gain. On average, children with televisions in their bedrooms gained one extra pound more per year than children of the same age with no television in their bedroom. Children with televisions in their bedrooms sleep less and go to bed later than children with no televisions in the bedroom. Sleep deprivation has been linked to weight gain. (Pediatrics, February 2013)

Based on this current research, the take away information to help you choose how much TV is right for your child includes:

  1. Infants and Toddlers: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of 2 years should avoid screen time, including TV, iPad, and touch screen phones. Children age 2 and younger should focus their time on activities that increase their gross motor (crawling, walking, rolling over) and fine motor (holding a spoon, picking up a Cheerio) control as well as engaging in both verbal and non-verbal communication. Music can be played for entertainment as well as to encourage movement and oral expression.
  2. Pre-school: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 2 hours of screen time per day (TV, iPads, touch screen phones, video games computers, etc.) for children. During these two hours, children will benefit from watching programming or engaging with activities that are non-violent, educational, and promote healthy behaviors such as sharing and caring. Children who engage with non-violent and educational programs have less behavior problems and are easier to parent.
  3. School-age and TeensTelevisions are not recommended in the bedroom as they increase late night viewing and delay bedtimes. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that school age children and teens sleep a minimum of 8 hours every night to maximize their physical, mental and educational development. Children who sleep less than the recommended amount have been shown to have increased incidence of being overweight or obese. Keeping televisions in public areas of the home can help parents monitor both the content and time of viewing as well as guide children to bed at an appropriate bedtime.

Television is a great tool and wonderful resource to enjoy as a family. Yet, as with everything, moderation is key. Helping your child know his or her limits, and setting those limits consistently, can help you parent more effectively and with more consistent results. Possible benefits to your child include increased learning, better behavior, and more consistent sleep patterns assisting with maintenance of a healthy weight.

For more information on recommendations for screen time in general (video games, tablets, computers, etc.), please visit this post: How much screen time is safe for kids?

Knowledge is power

What new information did you learn from this posting?  Did it help you identify something in your family you would like to change?  Share your experience below and what steps you plan on taking to guide your family.

 

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Monday, 27 May 2019

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