New research published in the most recent edition of the medical journal Pediatrics shows that cutting out violent cartoons can lead to better sleep for your pre-schooler.
For the study, investigators at Seattle Children’s Hospital Research Institute looked at the sleep schedules of 565 children between the ages of three and five. Half of families were randomly assigned to receive advice from a case manager whose role was to help the family replace violent and age-inappropriate viewing content with more educational or “prosocial” programming. Prosocial programming includes shows that teach a positive message of friendliness, sharing, cooperation and empathy. Some examples: Dora the Explorer and Sesame Street.
Through questionnaires every six to 18 months, researchers tracked the children’s sleep, looking at how long it took to fall asleep, presence of nightmares or sleepwalking, problems waking up and daytime tiredness. They found that the kids whose families received advice from case managers on “healthy” programming were 20-percent less likely to have a sleep problem that interferes with a full night’s rest.