Daycares are necessary for many parents. And most of them are good--providing nurturing and educational care for children, a safe and fun environment (as well as knowing to never tell Mom or Dad that Baby took her first steps during the day!) and employing caregivers who really love what they do.
But like any other industry, daycares are not perfect. The worst neglect or even abuse children but fortunately they’re in a very small minority. But some are too mediocre with policies that include too much "down time" and the use of television to serve as a kind of babysitter at intervals during the week. Parents want more than mediocre care for their kids.
It’s common for daycares and often corporate daycares to have televisions on during the day as well as licensed (and many use unlicensed) home daycares where children are cared by the homeowner alone or with an assistant. However, a new study focused solely on non-home-based daycares.
The new study, that focused on 255 daycares in Ohio that served children from the age of infancy to 6 years old, has shown that up to 60 percent of daycares allow their charges to watch television during the day. This goes against the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics that advises that children under the age of 2 watch no television at all and that those over the age of 2 have limited television of about 30 minutes per week when in daycare. Children under the age of 2 require one-on-one stimulation with another human being that includes the use of shapes, colors, music, movement and physical interaction/eye contact. Babies and very young children do not learn from television and most of their connections need to be with adults. In this study, nearly 20 percent of babies under 2 were allowed to watch television.
Additionally, the study found that about half the TV programs were educational in nature but the other half were a mix of entertainment (cartoons and the like) and educational shows. Older children--ages 3 to 6--were the most exposed (94 percent) to television.