Young children pay attention to the world around them every waking moment. They watch their parents and caregivers talk, eat, react to situations, and interact with others. You are your child’s first teacher! Babies and toddlers are amazing little learners who remember what their parents and caregivers do and say days and weeks later. However, you are not their only teacher, the interaction of young children with family, friends, nannies, and even what they watch on TV teaches children much more than you can imagine.
Michigan State University Extension reminds you how important it is to think carefully about what you say and do in front of your children, and to know what they are watching on TV and in the media, to make sure they are learning what you want them to. learn! Studies show that young children watch TV for an average of three hours a day. Caregivers often use television and movies to keep children occupied, and many families report leaving the television on all day, even as the family moves on to other activities such as bedtime and eating.
Do you think your children learn while watching TV? Research says yes! In fact, in just 20 seconds of watching TV, toddlers as young as 14 months can repeat the actions seen during the video. What do you think a small child can learn in an hour of watching? Young children can and will copy what they see on TV. In an experiment done to see if babies imitate what they see on TV, the researchers tested 120 toddlers aged 14 to 24 months.
Half of the children watched a short video of a stranger playing with a new toy, tearing it apart three times with the same movement. The other half of the children were divided into two groups. One group watched a video of a stranger playing with a toy without taking it apart, while the other half didn’t watch the video at all.