Advice on watching TV for toddlers and infants between the ages of 2 and 5, including viewing guidelines and the advantages of disadvantages of watching television.
TV is an integral part of day to day life for most people and there is no doubt that placing a baby in front of the TV provides a fantastic way of keeping them entertained while you get a chance to do chores or have a quick cup of tea. However, there is a fine line between controlled viewing and using the TV as a virtual babysitter, so the real question is how much TV is too much?
Although current recommendations suggest that children between the ages of 2 and 5 should watch no more than 2 hours of television a day and that passive viewing is still likely to have a detrimental effect on development, in some circumstances viewing can be beneficial for this age group.
Research suggests that actively viewing age appropriate, educational TV programs with an adult may help language development. To be most beneficial, the program should introduce new concepts and encourage interaction such as word repetition, song and dance - programs of this nature will provide plenty of opportunity for parents to join in and emphasise the important points.
However, despite their apparent benefits, educational programs should only form a small part of a child's varied routine and should supplement rather than replace activities such as reading, physical activity and other one to one parent-child interaction time. It is also advisable to enjoy mealtimes as a family without the distracting influence of TV, keep viewing to communal areas and resist putting a TV in your child's bedroom.
Again, the research is inconclusive, although there is a chance that high level, passive viewing of programs designed for older children and adults may impair development, the use of age appropriate, interactive programs watched with an adult seem to be beneficial.
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