Watching TV After a Tantrum Isn’t Good For Your Toddler, Study Reveals

Photo: Veer / The Bump
Photo: Veer / The Bump

A new study, just published in the journal Pediatrics by researchers from Boston Medical Center, suggests that you may want to think twice before turning over the remote to your fussy toddler. The study’s lead researcher, Dr. Jenny Radskey, is recommending that parents not put their toddler in front of a TV to soothe any tantrums, because that could garner developmental issues later in life.

“We found that babies and toddlers whose mothers rated them as having self-regulation problems — meaning, problems with calming down, soothing themselves, settling down to sleep, or waiting for food or toys — watched more TV and videos when they were age 2,” says Radskey. “Infants with self-regulation problems watched, on average, about nine minutes more media per day than other infants. This may seem small, but screen-time habits are established in these early years.”

More television watching could open the gateway to learning and developmental problems down the road, especially since the American Academy of Pediatrics says that television should be avoided for children under the age of two.

“Several studies show that too much screen time before age 2 or 3 is associated with language and learning delays, ADHD, and difficulties in school – probably because the screen time replaced early learning activities,” says Radskey. “And also probably because early media habits predict later media habits.”

7,500 children born in 2001 participated in this study, and the toddlers who identified with being fussy and having problems with sleep, eating and behavior on the Infant Toddler Symptom Checklist watched about 2.3 hours of TV a day.

How do you resolve your toddler’s tantrums?

Plus, more from The Bump:

Tantrums: Caught in the Act!

Does “Timeout” Work for a Toddler?

10 Ways to Tame a Tantrum