Baby and TV

Updated on August 04, 2010
K.F. asks from Fredericksburg, VA
8 answers

I know there are lots of moms out there that let their babies watch tv, but I am always worried it will 're-wire' my baby's brain - the AAP says not to let babies watch TV before the age of 2, so i try to adhere to that....but the hard part is the rest of the family. During the school year it was easier because no one is at home and I just leave the TV off unless it's nap time....but my two step kids are allowed to watch TV in the mornings and my husband likes to watch TV in the evenings as, I guess my question is (for those moms that don't let their babies intentionally watch tv either), how far do you go to actually avoiding letting your baby watch tv? Do you leave the room if there's a tv on? Do you insist everyone not watch tv? Do you go as far to avoid eating at restaurants that have tvs on (yesterday we ate at Red Robin and they were playing The Flintstones and I caught her watching it). I question whether or not it will really affect her development, but i think better safe than sorry...but they even said sometimes the sound can affect them also....and what's so different about the sound of a movie vs. real life? Is it just talking about sitcoms with a lot of commercials? What are you thoughts?

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answers from Provo on

I used to be parinoid that he would watch tv before 2 years. But then it became to much of a hassel to avoid it. I admitt that when he's sick that I'd let my 9 month old watch it just so that he would hold still and not get overactive. I think as long as you don't use it as a babysitter and use it sparingly it is fine if he watches just a little tv.
I do admitt that I have it on for the noise since I don't like a quiet house.

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answers from Buffalo on

I have 3 kids, and I have the TV all time for noise, it has not hurt my kids at all infact my 7 year old is in an excelerated reading program and is getting all A's in school. My kids do not just sit and watch the TV, they play and listen. I only put on educational shows, like Dora, or Niho Kilan

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answers from Indianapolis on

Our kids have both always had a TV on - whether it was the news or something else, it was on.

AAP's policy ( mentions interactive play in favor of TV time because of unknown effects on the child due to viewing.

I think it's a bold statement that is open for interpretation.
It's impossible to completely shield a younger child from TV when there are older kids.
What we find most often is that monitoring what they watch is most important. Our kids are 2 and 4, and we're selective about their programs preferring shows on Nick Jr, and PBS.

Because of the warm summer weather, our entertainment of choice after work is to be outside playing and a little TV as they wind down. Sometimes it's a movie we've rented from the library or a show we've DVR'd (our 4 year-old loves Word World, SuperWhy, etc).

I think their position statement comes from people who use a TV as a baby sitter instead of spending the one-on-one time working with their children on essentials.

My personal feeling is that when limited and controlled (i.e. not letting your 18 month-old watch the Simpsons), it's OK.

But, we also have a rule regarding the DVD player in the car. It's only on when we're taking a trip over 45 minutes. If we're just running around locally, it doesn't come on. There's enough outside and in the car (we have toys in there for them including several books) to entertain themselves.

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answers from Augusta on

Both of my kids are gifted and been watching TV since they were babies.
My oldest was coliky and and some nights the only ting that would calm her down was putting on 101 Dalmatians, and when it's 3 am and you've spent the last 4 hrs walking , bouncing , changing and feeding and nothing has helped the crying, you take what you can get. Now my oldest is ADHD but it is genetic. I am ADD, and 3 of my 4 siblings are ADHD or have a mood disorder. My daughter did all of her milestones early. crawled before 5 months, walked at 8 months. Neither one of them have ever had any development problems.
I believe the AAP recommendation stems from babies not having any interaction apart from the TV. There's a lot they can learn from TV you just have to put the right stuff on. It has to be Nick Jr, Playhouse Disney, or PBS, not your everyday sitcoms.

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answers from Dallas on

My daughter has been exposed to TV since birth and the only thing that she will actually stop her activities to watch is Paula Deen and Rachel Ray on the Food Network and I figured how bad can that be for her. I have turned on Nick Jr for her and she wants no part of it. She is 17 months old and could care less about the TV. I think it really depends on the child. If I notice that she is paying too much attention to TV, then I will take evasive action to limit her exposure, but right now I don't think she would notice if the TV is on or off.

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answers from Boston on

Everything in moderation. I wouldn't worry about the kids in the morning before school, and I would ask your husband to just wait to watch TV until the baby goes to bed (better for everyone that way, actually - more time together to do stuff). But if you're out and about and the TV is on, it's not toxic. Don't think of it like poison, think of it like sugar; you wouldn't want your kids' diet to consist solely of pop tarts, cake and ice cream, but those things as treats are just fine.



answers from Kansas City on

wow. Ok, my daughter is 3 and has always had the tv on around her. She has an incredible vocabulary and imagination. As long as what's on isnt inappropriate, I wouldnt worry. If you think she (or anyone in the family) is watching too much tv, just turn it off. I find in the mornings on the weekends sometimes we fall into a marathon of Mythbusters or Scooby Doo or something and I cant stand that we're all just sitting around watching tv and I turn it off. But for the most part, it's not going to harm your child to watch some tv.



answers from Minneapolis on

I personally think your being a little to paranoid about it. You do what is best for you and your family, and thats what matters. I have the t.v. on constantly for the background noise. I have a son that is 3 and a 5 month old. My son is very active and the only show's he really watches is dora, seaseme street, bob the builder, things like that for maybe an hour a day if that. Other wise he is to busy playing. He is very smart and having the t.v. on has not affected his development at all. My daughter is also very active for only 5 months. She loves to watch t.v. at times and i have no problem with it. It can be very educational for them as well.

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