In today’s digital age, it’s tempting to rely on television to entertain your child when cooking dinner or doing chores around the house. And it’s completely fine—after they turn 2 years old! Your child now is developing rapidly. Interacting with the real world rather than a screen is important for their growth.
That being said, television definitely isn’t all bad. Once they get a bit older, moderation and supervision can make viewing a fun interaction.
Parents are often concerned with television stunting cognitive growth. However, children are often able to create new stories from what they’ve seen and imagine new interpretations of their shows.
This only becomes a problem when children are exposed to television for too long and without supervision. More than 2 hours a day prevents children from playing and exploring the world around them. As they get older, too much television can also negatively affect their reading ability. As a passive activity, it’s best to limit how long they’re watching and set specific times in the day for viewing.
Check out this news report from the Wall Street Journal for information from the American Academy of Pediatrics on screen time for babies // source: youtube
And although it’s sometimes convenient to let your child be entertained by some moving pictures, taking time to watch TV with them is a great way to de-stress and prevent television from cutting into your interaction time. Children benefit from their parents engaging with the storyline and talking to them about it.
It’s also important to be purposeful in what you’re showing your child. Violence is quite common in TV and exposure to violence in media is associated with a rise in aggressive tendencies. Even some children’s shows contain characters getting hurt for a laugh, usually without consequence. And only some television programming actively encourages imagination and child development. Making sure your child’s television is age-appropriate and viewed in moderation is key!
1. This article “Is screen time baby for babies and toddlers” reviews different types of screen time, how much is appropriate, and how screens influence your baby’s language, social, and sleep development. This article was reviewed by Baby Centre’s Medical Advisory Board.
2. What about other screens? There’s a difference between passive screen time and active screen time, where social interactions like Skype and Facetime might help babies learn. Learn more here.