How much TV do your kids watch each day?
If they are like most kids, it is probably more than the guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics that:
- children under age 2 years not watch any TV
- older children limit noneducational screen time to no more than 2 hours each day
In fact, according to a new study that will appear in the November issue of Pediatrics, "Background Television in the Homes of U.S. Children," the average child aged 8 months to 8 years is exposed to nearly 4 hours of background television over a 24-hour period.
In addition to being linked to lower sustained attention during playtime, exposure to background television has also been linked to lower quality parent-child interactions and reduced performance on cognitive tasks.
You can help to reduce background TV in your home by:
- turning off the TV when no one is watching
- turning off the TV at key points during your child's day, like bedtime, when studying, and mealtime
- taking the TV out of your child's bedroom
- being a good role model and not turning the TV on when you are not watching a particular program
- not putting a TV in every room of your home
- providing your kids with things to do that will keep them away from the TV, especially active play outside
It might also help to put remote controls away in a drawer after you turn off the TV so that your family gets out of the habit of turning the TV on as soon as they enter a room.
How much background TV are your kids exposed to each day?