What Scientifically Makes Kids Happy, Part 2: Less TV Time

March 19, 2014 at 11:01 pm , by 

3 years, 4 months.

Continued from Part 1: Optimism.

Dear Jack,

Every parent has their own set of subconscious rules that they personally are sensitive to, while other parents may not be as concerned.

Something in particular that I personally am very strict about is your TV time.

My stance was always that I didn’t want you really watching any TV until you were 2 years old, as I believe it interferes with personality development and attention span.

However, you’ve been older than 2 for nearly a year and a half now…

I actually enjoy the fact you are now old enough to legitimately watch TV, per my blessings.

However, I didn’t know what the official cut-off point should be. I just knew it bothered me for the TV to be on in the background all day (because I believe the studies that show that excessive TV time is linked to lowering a child’s IQ), and/or for you to watch more than one movie on the same day.

Well, now, thanks to a recent study from the Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology, in Barcelona; the “official cut-off point” is 90 minutes a day of TV:

“For the study, Marinelli’s team questioned parents of slightly more than 1,700 preschool and school-aged children about the time their kids spent watching TV and sleeping (including napping) each day. The preschoolers were 2 and 4 years old at the study’s start, the others were 6 and 9.

The researchers found that children who watched TV for 1.5 hours or more a day slept less than kids with less TV time. And as viewing time increased to more than 1.5 hours a day, sleep declined even more.”

More than 90 minutes of TV equals less quality sleep time. I buy into it.

For me, this “90 minute rule” is something I plan on taking seriously from here on out.

The studies featured in the infographic ”The Science Of Raising Happy Kids” point to this concept as well, claiming that teens show higher signs of depression for every extra hour of TV they watch.

In essence, your sense of well-being is and will be affected by how much TV that I let you watch each day.

The biggest temptation is on the weekends. It’s easy a lot of the times to have the TV on in the midst of all that we have to get done.

We really do try to get you outdoors as long as weather permits- but when we don’t… Netflix always has something you’ll like.

(I wonder if anyone else besides our family has memorized the theme song ofTrotro?)

But again, I like the “90 Minute Rule.” It keeps things simple for me. I like having structure like that.

With being your dad, I don’t exactly have a set of rules to go by. This helps.





Infographic featured courtesy of Happify:

Read the entire What Makes Kids Scientifically Happy series:

 Part 1: Optimism

 Part 2: Less TV Time

Part 3: Love From Dad


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