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TV and Bedtime: Not a Good Combo for Little Kids

Dear ,

I have to imagine that, since the beginning of time, parents have found the toughest part of their childrearing day to be the very last bit of it. A big part of this has to do with what professor-types call an "inverse relationship" between parental eyelid sag and kid eyelid sag. In other words:
The more exhausted we become, the more energized our kids seem to get.
One modern factor contributing to this problem is young children watching television in the evening. Regardless of how "educational" the show or video is, something about the fast-paced images electrifies their little neurons. By the time they're supposed to be winding down and hitting the sack, they're hitting high gear.

In my DVD, Painless Parenting for the Preschool Years, I discuss the importance of calming routines before bedtime. This means having a predictable sequence of activities that take place at more or less the same time each evening…and are always done in more or less the same way. For example, one family may have dinner at about the same time each evening, give the kids a bath, read books in the same chair, tell stories, play the same silly games, hug and kiss the kids, and say, "See ya in the morning."

A critical part of this routine involves the following:
Turn off the TV at least one hour before bedtime.
To make your parenting even more powerful, you may want to consider taking an even bigger leap:
Keep the TV off…for good.
While these routines don't guarantee smooth bedtimes, they up the odds!

Thanks for reading!
Dr. Charles Fay

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