Good sleep and TV are not BFFs!

I know, oh I so do know! Sometimes only an episode of Paw Patrol is going to cut it! You need those 20 minutes to stop running around, sit down and have a cup or (warm!) tea. Or – you need this time to start running around, do some of the jobs on that never ending list of yours. But… If your baby, toddler or pre-schooler is not sleeping well, too much (or any!) screen time can be one of the reasons why.

Why then…? For starters TV, tablets and phones emit blue light. It’s known for messing with our body clocks by blocking the release of the sleep hormone, melatonin. It’s really the best idea to turn off all digital media 2h before bedtime!

Next, for young babies TV is just really stimulating, they don’t understand what’s going on there, so they get overwhelmed and tired. But here’s the tricky part: as mentioned above, those flashing lights (even if just “in the background”) tell their brain it’s not the time to sleep, so falling asleep and sleeping longer may become harder… The ball starts rolling!

Then comes the content. Is you child suddenly scared of the dark or staying alone at bedtime? These fears are often triggered by something they’ve seen on TV, even if the program looked totally innocent. Talk to your kids about what they’ve been watching (better yet – watch with them!) and how they feel about it.

The more research there is, the more we know. In essence, here’s the biggest deal: for children younger than 18 months, AAP recommends avoiding use of screen media (other than video-chatting) altogether. If you’re interested in a full refresher, you can find more information in this short article.