Michael Rich, MD, MPH, is Boston Children’s Hospital’s media expert and director of Boston Children’s Center on Media and Child Health. Take a look at his blog archive or follow him on Twitter @CMCH_Boston
Q:So far I’ve only allowed my 5-year-old to watch DVDs that I’ve selected. Should I introduce some quality educational TV programs, or should I stick to my guns and keep her away from TV—and the commercials that come with it—for as long as I can?
-Tepid about TV, USA
A: Dear Tepid,
Your question raises some good points. First, there’s no reason your child has to watch TV. There are many different ways she can learn the same lessons…like books, creative play, and time outside in nature.
If and when you do decide to incorporate TV into her media diet, there are a few things to consider. First, choose the programs carefully. There are high-quality educational TV shows that she could really enjoy (in limited quantities). Which ones work best for her depends on both who she is as an individual and her developmental stage. Refer to child-friendly reviews of children’s TV to help you decide whether the content is developmentally appropriate for her. Full story »