Aunt B’s Health Bit –TV Tots?

Pre-schoolers and Television

*According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) parents should allow no more than 2 hours of DVDs, computers and video games or television screen time for pre-school age children. While many parents to monitor screen time at home time, a recent article the Journal of Pediatrics, found that many children are exposed to screen time both at home and while at child care, with more than half exceeding the recommended daily amount.

In the United States a majority of children under the age of 5 spend almost 40 hours a week with caregivers other than their parent. A University of Washington study that interviewed both parents and caregivers found that:

  • On average children were exposed to 4 hours of screen time each day, with 3.6 of those hours coming from home.
  • Children in home-based childcare spent 5.6 hours watching TV or videos at home and at childcare.
  • Children in day care centers fared better with an average screen time of 3.2 hours a day.
  • Children who did not attend childcare averaged 4.4 hours a day.
  • Children in the Head Start program watched an average of 4.2 hours a day with very little screen time happening at the center. Most of it happened at home.

Too much TV has been linked to speech delays, aggressiveness and obesity. Few states have regulations for child care settings around television viewing so it’s best to have a chat with your caregiver about what goes on when you drop little Sam or Emma off.

So parents, this wasn’t written to criticize your decisions around childcare or your parenting skills, this was written so that you will be informed and are able to advocate/speak up for your child. Sometimes what is easy isn’t always best, and sometimes, it is. You might just need that moment to take a breath. I know I did.

Love your children,

Aunt B