How to Minimize TV’s Impact on Children’s Sleep Problems

The Supreme Court’s refusal to ban the sale of violent video games to children was a blow to parents fighting to reduce their children’s exposure to violence. But a new study on the relationship between television and children’s sleep problems indicates that the medium is just as detrimental as the message, particularly for preschool children.

Published in the medical journal Pediatrics, a Seattle Children’s Research Institute study found that sleep problems in young children increased in both frequency and intensity with increases in the amount of television watched, the level of violence, and the proximity of TV viewing to bedtime (see our previous two posts).

Most parents underestimated both the amount of time their children spent watching television and the level of violence they were exposed to in programs offered as children’s programming. Most parents believed that programs offered on TV and cable channels for kids were appropriate for young children; however, researchers said most children’s programming is aimed at children ages 7 to 12 and is too violent and stimulating for preschoolers who have not developed the ability to separate fantasy from reality.

Researchers recommended using the TV Parental Guidelines ratings as a guide to program selection and restricting evening television viewing. Substituting the soothing Nighty Night video for evening television is the perfect solution. An excellent sleep aid for kids, Nighty Night videos lull young children to sleep with soothing music and pictures of baby animals, allowing children to sleep soundly through the night without problem.

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