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Smart Woman: Are Fussy Toddlers Watching Too Much Television?

Does your toddler seem overly fussy and have trouble calming him or herself? It can be stressful, especially for new parents, but new research says plopping your child in front of the TV isn't always the best option.
Fussy toddlers tend to watch more television and videos than kids who are less irritable, according to a new study in the journal Pediatrics.

Researchers found two year old children who had more trouble calming down, soothing themselves, going to sleep, or waiting for food or toys watched about 9 minutes more TV a day than other little ones. This age group watched about 2 hours of media a day.

The study authors don't know whether children watched more TV because they were fussy and their parents used media as a distraction, or if too much viewing time got in the way of a child's ability to learn how to sooth him or herself and settle down when fussy.

Though this added 9 minutes is a small increase, researchers say watching too much television can lead to problems down the road. Other studies have shown that excessive media watching before age 2 or 3 is linked to language and learning delays and problems in school. Young children learn best when interacting and playing with others, says experts.

In moderation, however, watching educational programming with your young child may offer parents some needed relief from the stresses of family life, researchers say.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under age 2 avoid screen time all together.

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