How much TV can toddlers watch a day?

Read what an expert says about television and your toddler's brain.

By Linda Pagani, brain health researcher
Photo: iStockphoto Photo: iStockphoto

Q: I always swore I would never park my kid in front of the TV. But sometimes, when we’re making dinner or getting ready for work, TV is the only way I can keep my toddler occupied. Is 40 minutes a day too much?

A: Here’s the bad news: Under age two, TV is not at all recommended. The human brain triples in size and weight during the first 24 months of life. This growth is stimulated by active experiences with objects and people, not with a screen. For children over age two, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 120 minutes of TV per day. A toddler’s brain is like a sponge, but it’s also very economical — if a particular region of the brain is not used during this period, it becomes underdeveloped.

This article was originally published on Jun 14, 2012

Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with your baby's development, get the latest parenting content and receive special offers from our partners

I understand that I may withdraw my consent at any time.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.