TV: How much is okay?

My three-year-old daughter loves to watch television shows like Blues Clues and Little Bear. These are educational shows, but how much TV should I allow her to watch?

Question:

It is fine to see one or two educational shows a day. It also gives parents time to relax and have a cup of coffee or read the paper. At the end of this time both the parent and the child can feel more relaxed.

Research shows that children who sit in front of a TV for long periods of time become restless and cranky. Watching TV is a completely passive activity. Young children need physical activity. Sometimes watching TV over long periods can even make children tired.

Although children enjoy TV, they shouldn't watch more than an hour and a half per day, perhaps broken down into morning and night time watching. Sesame Street and Arthur, for example, would about do it.

If you find that the shows your child likes aren't on when they need to relax, you could have a taped episode on hand. This way, you can control not only what they watch, but when.

I know it can be hard to limit TV, but it is a good idea to do so from the start. Otherwise, you could end up with a TV junkie. Don't forget other activities, such as looking at books, doing artwork and playing with toys. Finding a good balance of other activities is what is best for both your child and you.

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