Family Magazine

Is Television Affecting Your Child’s Sleep?

By Therealsupermum @TheRealSupermum

As a parent, you of course want to make sure that your child gets enough sleep. It seems like the most natural thing in the world to give your child a little bit of television to calm them down before they drift off, but experts are beginning to report that this is not ideal. While watching the television does keep the child quiet before bed, it seems that this technique can backfire.

Is Television Affecting Your Child’s Sleep?

The Evidence

According to US News and World Report, Dr. Dimitri Christakis, a University of Washington pediatrician led a study where he reported that children under the age of three who watched television before bed had a higher rate of disturbed sleep. While this study offers proof of this for toddlers, there are previous studies that reflect the same information for older children and teenagers.


Is Television Affecting Your Child’s Sleep?

What Can I Do?

One of the first things that a parent who wants to avoid the risks of television saturation can do is to avoid using the television as a babysitter. A television provides a child with an endless source of novel entertainment, but there are other ways to keep your child occupied. For example, if you want to keep your child occupied as you do something else, consider things like art. Drawing with crayons can make a huge difference to a child’s stimulated state.

Similarly, you can find other ways to lull your child to sleep. All children, regardless of age and development, can benefit from a reduction of activity between twenty to thirty minutes before their actual bedtime. Turn down the lights and encourage quieter activities. For example, you may choose to turn this into a story time, where you read to your child or whether they read to themselves. Read to your child on the couch, and then send them off to bed, as this allows them to associate their bed only with sleeping.


Is Television Affecting Your Child’s Sleep?

Maintain a Consistent Bedtime

Remember to set a regular bedtime and to stick to it. it is tempting to allow your child to stay up later on the weekends, but this can lead to disordered sleeping. Make sure that you maintain a normal sleep schedule for your child as this can help the child sleep more deeply.


Is Television Affecting Your Child’s Sleep?


Assess how your child has been sleeping. Do they wake up frequently at night, or do they seem tired and exhausted in the morning? Ask your child how well they sleep, and how long it takes them to fall asleep. If it takes them longer than twenty minutes or so to fall asleep, there is a problem there that needs to be addressed.

Take a moment to consider what your child’s television viewing habits might be doing to his or her ability to sleep.

Peter Wendt is a writer and proud father in Austin, TX. Whenever he needs advice on keeping his family healthy, or if one his kids is sick, he recommends Kangos Pediatrics.

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