Should Toddlers Watch Television?

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The television has become an integral part of nearly every household. The young and the old, alike, enjoy being able to escape to a world of sitcoms, action, drama and music. However, do the babies and toddlers of our families really need television? Should they be watching programs on the umpteen number of children’s channels?  Well, the answer to that would be both a yes and a no.

Let us look at how watching television can be beneficial or positive for toddlers-

 Television can be Educational

 Yes, it is true. There are many programs on television that can teach children about values, manners and people in general. However, as parents, it is our job to guide toddlers and children and sit down with them when watching these programs, pointing out appropriate things.

Television can Teach Vocabulary and Language Skills

Toddlers are at a stage where they would pick up words and vocabulary at the speed of light. Therefore, if used correctly, television programs can be used to encourage word-building, vocabulary development and learning sentence construction.  

Television offers a Different Form of Entertainment

Most importantly, television is a form of entertainment that is different from regular play and other toddler activities. As a parent, you should make an effort to watch television with your toddler and not leave him alone. When watched together, it can be another form of healthy entertainment that is being monitored, regulated and used wisely to gain something useful.

Now, let us examine the reasons toddlers should not watch television – 

It is Passive Entertainment 

Watching television requires little or no involvement from a toddler. Therefore, it is easy to get so absorbed in watching what’s happening on the screen that everything else fades away. Only when made interactive can you get any benefit from television programs.

It can Lead to Childhood Obesity

Study after study has shown that watching television, especially when eating, can lead to obesity, both in children and adults. The reason is simple. One gets so absorbed in watching the screen that no attention is paid to what and how much is going into the mouth. Toddlers, too, are no exception to this rule.

If Not Monitored can be Inappropriate

When toddlers are left to watch television on their own, with little or no parental involvement, chances are they would watch just about anything that they think is entertaining. Moreover, they would also, not maintain the right distance or stick to a specified duration of watching television. Aside from the appropriate edu-tainment programs meant for toddlers, there is very little else, that they should be viewing. 

 Therefore, at the end of the day, it is important that television viewing for toddlers, and even, young children should be subject to certain guidelines. For more information on setting guidelines, do read How to Set Television Watching Guidelines For Toddlers. If viewed in a sensible, monitored manner, television and all its child-oriented programs can be used to facilitate learning and entertainment both for parents and children.


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