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How Toddlers’ TV Time Can Hurt Kindergarten Success

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Posted August 23, 2013

Toddlers who watch too much television have a more difficult time when they start kindergarten, a new Canadian study suggests.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no TV for kids under 2 and a limit of two hours a day of screen time for children aged 2 and older.

This study looked at how the TV-viewing habits of about 2,000 children in Quebec at the age of 29 months affected them when they started kindergarten.

Every hourly increase in daily TV viewing over the recommended two-hour limit at the younger age was associated with poorer vocabulary, math skills and attention; reduced physical abilities; and an increased risk of being picked on by classmates when the children started kindergarten.

“[The findings] suggest the need for better parental awareness and compliance with existing viewing recommendations put forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics,” study author Linda Pagani, a professor at the University of Montreal, said in a university news release.

The findings are important because a child’s performance in kindergarten can predict their future success in school and life. However, although the study reported an association between more TV time and poorer skills in school, it did not establish a direct cause-and-effect relationship. Study data and conclusions also typically are considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

SOURCE: University of Montreal, news release

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