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TV and Toddlers

The average toddler and preschooler watches about 32 hours of TV a week, that’s almost the equivalent of a full time job. Is this healthy? No, it absolutely is not. The American Academy of Pediatrics believes that children under the age of 2 should not watch any TV, and if they do it shouldn’t be more than an hour or 2 of quality programming a day. Why is watching television at such a young age a problem? Continue reading, it may change your mind about letting your little ones sit in front of the TV.

Toddlers and preschoolers are in their prime development time and should be participating in activities that contribute to their brains, like blocks, art, exercise and socialization. Children who sit in front of the TV starting at such a young age are more likely to develop an addiction to television in their later years. Television changes brain development and can sabotage kids as they learn to read and can also hold them back from being a good student. TV, video games and computer games can trigger your child’s brain to develop differently causing shorter attention spans, reducing impulse control and increasing aggression. There is more and more evidence popping up that shows that the more TV kids are exposed to the more likely they are to have ADD and ADHD symptoms.

The best activities you can do with your youngsters are art projects, building with blocks, interacting with other kids and adults, cooking with mom and dad, looking at books, playing outside and creative fantasy play. Really, anything that stimulates their people skills, problem solving, creativity and reasoning are excellent for the foundation of positive, healthy brain development.

According to a study done by the University of Michigan’s Health System, TV teaches children to hit and fight. G-Rated, animated movies have violence all the time; the “good guy” beating up the “bad guy” to save the day. This sends the message that violence is normal and if people in cartoons do it, that must mean its ok, right? Yes, because the hero in their favorite movie did it. The study also shows that watching violent media can hinder a child’s willingness to help those in need and makes them less sensitive towards victims and human suffering. Who would have thought letting your child watch an animated movie created specifically for children could be the cause of an uncompassionate, violent person later in life?

If you are guilty of letting the television or computer babysit the kids while you get some chores done or just for some relaxation (like many people are), try thinking of other things your child could do that will keep them busy and quiet. There are plenty of games and activities you can come up with on your own, or ask fellow parents and even teachers for ideas. Just think:  this can be your motivation to get outside more, or to stimulate your own creative mind to help stimulate your child’s positive development!

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