In my fantasy life – which we all have I am sure – after winning the lottery I think I am perfect for a post in the above Ministry. Either that or the Head of Research Into Thing We Already Know.
I was tempted to apply for either not yet created position by the ‘news’ that babies should learn through interaction and play, not electronic devices. Wow – who would have thought?
Well it seems, not enough people as according to the American Academy of Pediatrics recent survey, 90 percent of parents with children under 2 say that on average, their children watched television 1-2 hours a day. In fact by the age of 3 almost a third of children have a television in their bedroom and those parents who believe that educational television is “very important for healthy development” are twice as likely to keep the television on all or most of the time.
Socialization is one of our greatest skills: we stay healthy by interacting with others and the foundation of our relationships is communication. This new data confirms that children under 2 should have minimum time in front of a television in order to promote optimal early brain development. Young children learn best from — and need — unstructured play time and interaction with humans, not screens.
This way they learn to think creatively, problem solve, and develop reasoning and motor skills at early ages and free play also teaches them how to entertain themselves.
But let’s be realistic, the television is not going away, but this new research makes clear that it needs to be limited and set within clear boundaries. For instance, keep any watching for this very young age group to early in the day as watching television around bedtime can cause poor sleep habits and irregular sleep schedules. These factors will then adversely affect mood, behaviour and learning and puts the child at greater risk delays in language development once they start school.
Oh and my current projects for the Head of Research Into Thing We Already Know involves a million pound global investigation on whether stopping breathing affects our health – carried out in the Bahamas. You never know they give research grants for sillier things – I have read about them!