Getting our kids to bed can be one of the biggest battles of parenthood. The issue starts from day one and really never ends until they’re adults. An interesting new study shows why some small children may not be getting the amount sleep they need for optimum health. The culprit may be in the form of a masked hero.
Katie Moisse reported for ABC News concerning a sleep-related study that was published in the journal Pediatrics. The study revealed that among the 565 preschool-age children whose sleep habits were monitored, those who were only allowed to watch age-appropriate educational television were less likely to have sleep issues than those who were allowed to watch programs with fighting superheroes or other rambunctious scenes intended for an older audience.
Moisse interviewed the author of the study, Michelle Garrison from the Seattle Children’s Research Institute. Garrison explained theories about these findings, one major hypothesis being that children exposed to less violence may suffer fewer nightmares and find it easier to fall asleep.
Previous studies back up Garrison and her team’s theories, as there have been numerous links to violence and poor sleep patterns in the past. Poor sleep can also raise a child’s risk of behavioral and emotional problems.
The researchers ran a clinical trial attempting to see how a reduction of violent media would affect the children. The children watched shows like Curious George, Dora the Explorer, and Sesame Street.
The switch worked. Garrison explained that measurable effects were noted, and she attributes the media content for the positive results. She also explained that these types of shows model good social skills. Traits like empathy, cooperation, and problem solving seem to positively affect sleep unlike masked men dueling one another.
Let’s get real: Most of our kids watch TV. So what? As long as they’re not living in front of the screen, I don’t see the problem. But I’ve always taken issue with kids watching shows they weren’t ready for. Just because I turn on the TV for my son doesn’t mean I’ve thrown in the towel on responsibility as a parent.
There are tons of wonderful shows that have taught my little genius so much. However, there are a ton more that I simply don’t allow. He’s a little boy for goodness sake. Just because it’s animated does not mean it’s appropriate for little kids. Monitor what your kids are watching, and make sure it’s age appropriate. Both you and your children will sleep better at night for it.
August 6th, 2012