Watching television before bedtime is bad for a child’s emotional and psychological development, an expert claimed today.
Researchers who studied the habits of 3,000 children found two thirds of primary school age kids now watch an hour-and-a-half of television instead of reading before bed.
Today child psychologist Dr Richard Woolfson, who runs workshops on child development, claimed that is too much.
He said: ”A child’s bedtime routine should involve them moving from an active emotional state to a more calm and relaxed one which gets them ready for sleep.
”Parents who let their children watch TV and play computer games before bedtime are not allowing their children to achieve this emotional transmission.
”Reading a story before bed is perfect for relaxing a child as they become a passive listener and enjoy the interchange of warmth from parent to child.
”It is also very important for their psychological development.”
Woolfson’s comments were in response to a study carried out by Munch Bunch.
The company commissioned the poll as part of their Munch Time Storytelling competition, which aims to help put storytelling back on parents’ evening agenda.
The study found ‘a book before bed’ is slowly dying out with kids now more likely to watch television or play computer games at bedtime.
Researchers found barely half of youngsters now have a story read to them as part of their night-time routine because their parents are either too busy or too tired.
Almost three quarters of mums and dads said they weren’t able to find time to read to the kids because they arrive home too late from work or are swamped by household chores.
The research also showed that, despite 88 per cent of parents admitting they enjoy reading at bedtime, one in five kids prefer to play computer games at night-time.
It also emerged that two thirds of primary school kids watch an hour and a half of TV as part of their bedtime routine.
While storytelling has slipped down the agenda, those parents that do read stories are favouring traditional tales.
The most popular book to read is The Three Little Pigs, followed by Goldilocks and the Three Bears and Beauty and the Beast.
The campaign is supported by Simon Bartram, author of popular childrens’ book ‘Man on the Moon’.
He said: ”Storytelling should fall under one of the priorities in getting a child ready for bedtime as it is important for the development of the child’s reading, writing and creative skills.
”It is also a very strong bonding technique that parents and their children can only exercise for a few years.”
TOP TEN FAVOURITE BEDTIME STORIES
1. The Three Little Pigs
2. Goldilocks and The Three Bears
3. Beauty and the Beast
4. Little Red Riding Hood
6. The Gingerbread Man
7. Three Billy Goats Gruff
8. Snow White
9. Sleeping Beauty
10. The Ugly Duckling