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Study: Watching Daniel Tiger May Help Your Kid Become More Emotionally Intelligent

Raising an emotionally intelligent child is as important as raising an intellectually intelligent one. Although, teaching your kid to cope is easier said than done when they get all the feels every time they’re hungry, sleepy, or near a full moon. A recent study in the Journal of Children And Media suggests you might want to pay a visit to the Land Of Make Believe. They’ve found exposure to the PBS show Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood can increase EQ in kids. Is television good for kids now? Someone should alert hell about the impending deep freeze.

The researchers looked at 127 children ages 2 to 6 who were broken into 2 cohorts. One watched 10 targeted episodes of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood for 2 weeks. A control group watched Pure Nature, a nature-themed documentary series. Results showed that when DT was combined with active mediation (basically, having a conversation about what they were watching), kids who hung out with Daniel showed higher levels of empathy, self-efficacy, and emotional recognition. (But kids who watched Pure Nature probably knew more about bird migration.) The relationship was strongest in lower income families. However, that doesn’t mean other children were any less emotionally intelligent. Rather, researchers think that kids with greater resources were already more developed in this area and there was less of a shift to observe.

It’s important to note that these were 10 specially selected episodes for the experiment. Simply sitting your kid in front of the TV is still not a replacement for empathetic parenting. Children who watched the show without having conversations about it did not display the same improvements in emotional intelligence. So, not to worry,  an animated tiger isn’t going to replace you. Mr. Rogers on the other hand — that be-cartiganed man could’ve given you a run for your money.

[H/T] Play Science