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My two year old son will be turning two few days from now. With me by his side, all the time, I saw all his milestones and development. At a...

Is My Son Watching Too Much TV? A Parent's Guide To Our Child's Screen Time

By 7:57:00 AM , ,

Why we don't watch TV, as a rule, while David's awakeMy two year old son will be turning two few days from now. With me by his side, all the time, I saw all his milestones and development. At a year and a half he can already utter a sentence with minimal corrections and sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

Now that he's nearly 2, he can recognize the body parts, colors, sing the ABC song, sing couple of nursery rhymes and the latest one, he's now starting to ask "why" questions (Welcome to the WHY club, baby).

Yet, what bothers me is his screen time (TV, tablet and laptop). Comparing to his sister who's now 4, my son has acquired better speech development than his sister. Back when it was just my daughter, we rented a room near my husband's workplace.

My daughter's only source of interaction was only me (when her father works). We read books, talk and more exposed to nursery rhymes (audio only). Yet, it was when she's nearly 2 that she was able to utter a sentence.

Now with my second child, I allowed him for more screen time than his sister before. As others would say, screen time for toddlers has been sort of an "escapism" for moms when they're hands are too full with other tasks.

He watches nursery rhymes on Youtube, Phonics songs, even Peppa Pig. Despite the more screen time hours, he still manages to out perform his sister's speech development back when she was at his age.

The only difference perhaps is that my son is now surrounded with more family members to interact with since we're living near my in-laws.

We still do the usual stuff like coloring some books, playing around, face-to-face interaction but with one exception- he seems to be more visual hence reading him a book is kind a hard. He listens but not as intently as his sister.

Could it be that I allowed him more screen time?

What's the recommended hours of screen time for his age?

Does educational TV a contributor to his better development?

How come he was able to perform better than his sister (when she was at his age) even if he has more screen time?

A mom would have a long list of questions to ensure we're raising our kids on the right track. I've gathered some inputs for us mommies about this screen time dilemma especially in today's generation.

What is the recommended hours of screen time for baby/toddlers?


American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a statement about screen time recommendation that there should be NO-TV policy for the child's first two years. A maximum of 2 hours screen time per day is recommended for children above 2 years old.

What about educational TV like "Baby Einstein", does it contribute to a baby/toddler's development?


AAP released the said recommendation above due to the rise of DVD learning programs and other shows that act like a pre-school on TV. Dr. Ari Brown, a pediatrician in Austin, Texas and lead author of the said policy stated that "there is no such thing as educational TV".

Instead according to two professors at the University of Washington, they found out that babies actually learned six to eight fewer words for each hour per day spent watching these type of tv programs especially to babies 8-16 months old.

Moreover, toddlers who watch more than three hours of tv program per day is 30% more likely to have attention problems in school.

Research also suggests that more than three hours of TV each day can harm a child's vocabulary and Math skills and could also make them more likely to be bullied during school age years.

What about programs like Sesame Street and Barney? 


Dr. Brown says that their research also shows digital developmental divide. TV programs like Sesame Street has shown to contribute to improve language and social skills in children older than 2 years. 

But this isn't recommended to babies or below 2 years as this will delay their language skills. However, parents should also be reminded to stick with the recommended 2 hours screen time per day.

It's also a must for parents to be aware with what they coined as  "secondhand TV" (more like that of secondhand smoke). Kids who are playing toys with tv programs running in the background like the Amazing Race or America's Got Talent are more likely to look up at the screen every 20 seconds. Thus, it is still counted as a screen time for tots.

In my son's case, I have to admit that he have been consuming more than 3 hours of screen time per day. I might as well hide the TV's remote control and pretend that I forgot to pay the internet connection. 

I know this will be a battle, but I should be firm enough to say NO. Hence, goodbye YouTube and goodbye for now "me time".

Being surrounded with more relatives to interact with (when the tv is turned off) is perhaps the main reason why he has acquired better speech development compared to his sister back then. And I guess it also helps that he has a sister to play some pretend stuff where conversation takes place.

TV helps, it really does, but like everything else, it should be used in moderation. Too much of something is bad enough (er, Spice Girl's famous song line?). 

But nothing beats the personal bond of parents to there children. It is the best way to develop your child's mental and emotional skills. No TV show or Baby Einstein DVD can replace that.


Sources: HuffPost , Time, DailyMail

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