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Child Development Expert Talks

Child Development Expert Talks

UKMums.TV has grabbed a chat with child development expert Dr Jacqueline Harding to find out what TV programmes parents could be watching with their little ones to help them flourish into bright and happy youngsters.

This age of digital media can be daunting for parents as children take to phones, TVs and tablets at earlier ages, and the amount of screen time a child gets can be a source of guilt for parents. But parents can rest assured as Jacqueline says some television programmes and apps can benefit a child’s personal, social and emotional development.

Through years of research Dr Jacqueline has found that watching high quality TV with children does not need to be a passive experience. Children’s TV has long been a source of entertainment for the nation’s youngsters and many British children’s shows have been credited with having a hugely positive impact on children.

One of the most successful and popular TV programmes of the last 19 years is Teletubbies, which is back on our screens with brand new episodes starting on CBeebies on Monday (9th May). Jacqueline speaks for a live webchat today in which she explores whether much has changed when it comes to children’s TV since Teletubbies was first aired in 1997. She also gives helpful advice on how to extend and enhance the viewing experience with your child and to aid their development.

Here’s what Jacqueline told UKMums.TV ahead of her live webchat:

UKMums.TV: What are the signs to look out for in a TV programme that shows it’s good for a child’s development?

Jacqueline: There are lots of signs to look out for that indicate whether or not your child is truly engaged by a TV programme.   Children who are enjoying and interacting with a programme will smile and laugh and even squeal! They’ll make spontaneous comments and chat to the characters, point to the screen and talk about the show after it’s finished.  You can also spot when they’re not particularly engaged where, for instance, the pacing may be too fast for them, and they look away from the screen several times when viewing.

UKMums.TV: What are the benefits for children of watching TV programmes such as Teletubbies?

Jacqueline: Good tv, presented in a rich and stimulating way, can be very beneficial to children’s development in the three prime areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage – communication and language, social physical development and personal, social and emotional development – especially when viewed alongside a parental figure.  You only have to observe a child watching Teletubbies to see how engaged they are with the action and the characters.  For instance on the communication and language side, children are instantly engaged by the ‘baby talk’, which draws them in and encourages them to listen to the adult voices in the show.  And the simple repetition of key phrases allows them to mimic the Teletubbies and add words to their vocabulary.

UKMums.TV: What advice can you give to parents who are anxious about the amount of time children should spend watching screens.

Jacqueline: Most parents I know don’t need any encouragement to feel guilty about the way they are bringing up their children, and particularly about the amount of time and attention they are able to give them!  My advice would be to make the time they are watching screens an interactive, shared experience that you can all have fun with.  I’d also suggest keeping the viewing to shorter periods of time and having a screen-ban in the hour leading up to bedtime.

UKMums.TV: What else can parents do to help their child get the most out of beneficial TV?

Jacqueline: The best advice I can give is to watch TV with your children and help them to respond to the action and the characters.  You can clap with them, laugh with them and mimic their actions.  Encourage them to move around and dance or spin around when the characters do.  And you can ask your child open ended questions about the content to encourage them to explore and use new vocabulary.  Children love nothing more than telling an adult what they’ve learned and this is a great opportunity to do that!

Join us for the live chat which starts at 2pm.

For more information click this link.

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