|Sorry dude, you're on the outs!|
U.Va. psychologists tested 4-year-old children immediately after they had watched nine minutes of the popular show "SpongeBob SquarePants" and found that their executive function – the ability to pay attention, solve problems and moderate behavior – had been severely compromised when compared to 4-year-olds who had either watched nine minutes of "Caillou," a slower-paced, realistic public television show, or had spent nine minutes drawing. "There was little difference on the tests between the drawing group and the group that watched 'Caillou'"... Lillard said there may be two reasons that a fast-paced and fantastical show would have a negative effect on the learning and behavior of young children.Score one for Mr Rogers and Captain Kangaroo! And for drawing, using building blocks and board games, and playing outdoors—all of which she says are vastly superior than being parked in front of the boob tube.
"It is possible that the fast pacing, where characters are constantly in motion from one thing to the next, and extreme fantasy, where the characters do things that make no sense in the real world, may disrupt the child's ability to concentrate immediately afterward," she said. "Another possibility is that children identify with unfocused and frenetic characters, and then adopt their characteristics."
The children in the study, whether they watched the television shows or drew, were tested immediately afterward for how well they solved problems and followed rules, remembered what they had been told, and were able to delay gratification.
Lillard advises parents to consider the findings when making decisions as to which television shows to allow their young children to watch – if they watch television at all.
Of course, we would add books to the list. We have hundreds for preschoolers and beyond. Amusing, entertaining, educational ... you can't miss!
And remember the slinky? It just happens to be our top seller right now and is super fun for all ages.