One of our members who is a doctor shared this great article. Of course the point the article makes about parents reading to their children is a point that could also be made about playing outdoors with their children.
“Books are good for children.” “TV is bad for children.” Everyone seems to know this. In the same way that we know that we should be eating lots of fruits and vegetables and limiting sweets, we all know that kids should spend a lot of time with books and relatively little time with TV.
But why? Can’t kids learn just as much from TV as they do from books? There is no doubt that TV can be educational. But one of the unforeseen consequences of TV viewing is reducing how muchparents talk with their children. And diminished parent-child interaction can have negative effects on children, especially when they are young.
In a recent study of toddlers and preschoolers, we observed mothers and their children while they read books, watched a prosocial TV program, or played with toys. We found TV viewing suppressed both the amount and quality of mother-child communication. That is, moms made relatively few comments to their children while co-viewing. When they did speak, their comments were often unrelated to what their child said, thereby creating an unproductive exchange that could hinder children’s opportunity for learning.