Sitting in front of the TV before bed happens in a lot of homes. Is this good for your kids though? Find out more in this video chat. Click video to watch.Rather read than watch? Click here.
Dana Obleman: Hi there, I’m Dana, welcome to this week’s video. Today I want to talk about the television. I have a bit of a love hate relationship with the television. I found that it was helpful at times in parenting. If, for example, I just needed to make a quick phone call or I had to get dinner on the table.
Having the kids sit down and watch a show made life a little easier. Didn’t it? What I do find happening more and more often is people using television too much. I mean there is a happy medium to everything and TV watching, absolutely, too much of it can become hurtful.
Here’s where it affects sleep and a lot of people don’t know this. It affects adult sleep as well, so this might be a little tip for you to take home with you today, and apply to your own life. What happens when we watch screens, and that could be the TV, the I pad, the I phone, the computer it doesn’t really matter. If it’s coming from the screen, it’s emitting what’s called blue light.
It’s a whole spectrum of colors on light and the blue one, we know now, really interferes with melatonin production. If you don’t know yet what melatonin is, it is a hormone that our body naturally secrete that helps us feel fatigued and ready for bed.
We need a certain level of it in our bodies to put us to sleep and keep us asleep through the night. OK, so when we look at screens right before bed, this blue light is blasting right into our eyeballs and its inhibiting, its preventing melatonin. You will still get some of it, but you won’t get enough to really feel significantly tired enough to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep.
Where I see this interfering with children, is that a lot of people allow their children to watch TV right before bed, or even worse until they fall asleep. I get it, most kids will sit in front of a TV, and they will be very calm, and it’s looks like it’s relaxing, right. But what’s happening in the brain is the opposite of what you want to be happening. It is very stimulating in the brain and it’s interfering again with the melatonin.
My rule of thumb and this applies in my own house as well, is no screens after dinner. That’s usually a good hour or two before my kids go to bed, that there is no screen time. I try to apply that to my own life as well because I find that when I don’t it really does affect the quality of my nighttime sleep.
What can you do instead? Like that time between dinner and bedtime can be a bit tricky, I get it. You’ve got to clean up the kitchen, and there’re things to do. You can get your kids involved in that the best you can. We often go for a walk or a bike ride after dinner, or we play a game together. There’re other things that kids can do.
I think that’s part of the problem too. Is that when they became so reliant on screens, then when screens are off it’s like they don’t know what to do with themselves. They’re wondering around the house like, “What can I do?” You have to encourage them to find things to do that don’t involves staring at some sort of mechanism.
Most of the time it just requires a little bit of a prompter. Like, I’ll suggest to my own children, “Why don’t you go and draw some pictures, or why don’t you go play that game I just bought?” Once you give them a little bit of a cue to what to do then they’ll go do it, and they’ll often do it happily for at least half an hour.
I want you to have a look at your child’s schedule. If TV is too close to bed time, I want you to try just for a week or two, removing it and seeing if that doesn’t improve the quality of your child’s sleep. You might even apply it to your own life as well and you will see a big difference.
Thanks for watching today, sleep well.
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