There’s been quite a bit of controversy lately surrounding the appropriate age for toddlers to start watching TV. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends no TV time for toddlers under the age of two years, and there is even talk of this becoming three years. So why does the AAP stand firm in this belief? Read on to find out why
Your Pediatrician Doesn’t Want Your Toddler Watching TV
Our children grow at an astonishing rate in the first 3 years of life, with the brain tripling in size in the first 12 months. Toddlers learn the most through play and interacting with their parents. They learn from our facial expressions, our tone of voice and body language. The average parent can speak 940 words in one hour when conversing with their toddler. This amount reduces drastically to 170 words per hour when the TV is on! Less speaking means less learning. It is evident that it takes two years for a toddler’s brain to develop to a point where the images they see on the screen come to represent their real-life equivalents. Studies suggest that screen viewing before the age of two years has long-lasting effects on children’s language development, reading skills and short-term memory. It could also have negative impacts on concentration and sleep. The AAP even warns against “second-hand” TV, a TV that is on in the background, saying that even if an adult program is showing, a child innocently playing in the vicinity will look up every 20 seconds.
So letting your toddler watch TV to buy you some time really doesn’t seem worth it anymore, does it? Rather look for other engaging activities like age-appropriate puzzles and books to keep your young one busy. And remember, if he doesn’t know TV, iPad or iPhone, he won’t ask for it.