Dr. Laura Markham on Preschoolers & TV

Dr. Laura Markham has an excellent parenting site called AhaParenting.com. If you haven’t already heard about it or read any of her articles I highly recommend them for wonderful parenting advice. Below I have copied the first section of her article discussing Toddlers & Preschoolers using television and computers.

How much screen time should your Toddler or Preschooler have?  Are you ready?  In my opinion, no daily time on an ongoing basis.

Of course, screens are a terrific babysitter.  If you have a new baby in the family, or you’re trying to get some essential alone time with each of your kids, or if you’re easing a restaurant meal or long car ride,  it’s my vote that screen time is worth the risk.  But if you routinely use TV so you can get stuff done, it’s better to find a babysitter or a preschool program for a few hours a day. Risking your child’s brain development is too high a price to pay for keeping him busy.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is more open on this. Drawing from the research, they suggest that children under age 2 not watch any TV and that kids over age 2 be limited to an hour or at most two, daily, of quality programming.

That comes out to about ten hours per week.  And yet, toddlers and preschoolers in the US watch an average of 32 hours of TV every week.

Why is this a problem?

  • TV changes brain development.
    Dr Dimitri Christakis will blow you away with this talk about brain development and the effects of TV
    (click here).
  • TV can sabotage kids as they learn to read, and keep them from becoming good students.
    Why? Click here.
  • Toddlers and preschoolers have other, very important developmental work to do. This is a huge amount of time spent on TV that should be spend on the things that are better for their brains – blocks, art, running around, engaging with other people. These activities teach kids self-regulation, and are the foundation for the next stages of learning.
  • TV is addictive and this sets up a habit for life.

Read the rest of her excellent article here >