Watching TV

Updated on June 20, 2008
M.K. asks from Rancho Cucamonga, CA
11 answers

Recently I noticed my 3 month old watching the TV while I was holding him. And although I doubt he understands anything going on at this point, it sure seemed to keep his attention! I have read that babies should not watch TV before the age of two...does anybody know why? Although I don't want to stick my child in front of the TV, if he's crying and it happens to calm him down, I would love to sit with him and watch some TV. Or if he just seems to be into it while laying on the floor, I'd love to let him just do it until his attention goes elsewhere. Do you think that is a problem? I don't want to use it as a babysitter, I just don't have any idea why they say babies can't watch TV!

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answers from Honolulu on

There is an invaluable book called Raising Self-Reliant Children in a Self-Indulgent World by Glenn and Nelson. It begins with a well-researched explanation on the ins and outs of TV and children. Excellent reading.

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answers from Los Angeles on

not sure if it is true but I read somewhere that kids who watched tv under the age of 2 developed brains that processed thoughts in short snipets instead of longer ones needed for critical thinking. The tv actually molded the way their brains processed thoughts.



answers from Los Angeles on

What I heard from a nurse who does the research (my mom) is that before two years old, they can't tell the difference between real and not real. I have noticed that when I am watching something like the news, my daughter will wave at the screne and try to get the attention of the people on the tv. That is usually when I turn it off until she is napping... On the other had, I do have a seseame street or two tivo'd...
Good luck, hope this helps.



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi M.:
Heck,is there a day goes by,that the experts aren't coming up with some (new (ADVICE) OR WARNINGS? I'm waiting for the day, they report to the media that (swallowing your spit can cause cancer!!I swear,they treat individuals like they're all brain dead! We all know (WHY they tell us (NOT) to let our toddlers watch tv, Because,they know we'd be watching it to!I'd bet, the guy that made that statement,got into a big argument with the spouse, that day about the hours she spent watching soaps instead of cleaning the house! lol TV has been around for over 50 years for gosh sakes.As long as you monitor what hes viewing M.,he won't suffer from any trama.There is so much to select from now,and some of it can be quite educational for the kids.The best to you and your lil sesame street critic. lol



answers from Los Angeles on

As you can tell, tons of advice out there! My daughter who is 2 1/2 does love tv - but her tv is limited. We tivo Little Einsteins, Strawberry Shortcake and she has some disney movies. Because she is in school during the work day, she is exhausted when she gets home, so this is a good time for us to relax together. We go swimming, then watch some of her shows together. Normally, she is not cuddly, but in the evenings when she is getting tired, she will snuggle up and we have a nice time just being together. That, I think, is the key - together, not alone. I often find that if I leave her watching tv to go make dinner, she comes out to see and brings her stool to stand on so she can see.

It is ultimately your judgement, but take advantage of some relaxing time for yourself with your child!



answers from Los Angeles on

My son when he was about 3 months WATCHED TV.... he is 19 months now. He watched all sports (still does) and Latin News (particularly the women). Now he prefers only Pixar movies as far as cartoons go. I believe it is NOT good for them to watch TV and so young and over a certain period of time and alone. I think the experts are concern with habits that form and how easy it is even for adults to watch tv how an hour can turn into 3 easily. And I think they say it takes away or slows down from their development in other areas.

So if I throw him in front of the tv, i try to keep it more educational...its usually with a sesame street video or ASL video which he is picking up on.

I'm a single mom and sometimes, I need to cook, clean or prepare for the next day or regroup myself.... so I try to limit it. I try to watch WITH him.

I do read to him every night and sing songs. We are already in a book club we go to on Saturdays, we use chalk/draw, play ball, bubbles, etc.... my point being... watching tv is not all we do. With some parents they over do it I think. And all children are different. We balance it. As he gets older and can do more activities ... outdoor especially...... TV should filter out.

Try one of those Play Mats/Gyms also for added entertainment.



answers from Honolulu on

The thing at any age, is to carefully choose what you have on TV when they are watching.

Personally, I don't like quick action things and things which have fast paced visuals. I show my kids the nature type shows, or as an infant baby Einstein videos etc., and the more "educational" child shows as they get older. These shows are slower paced, and thus the attention span of it is more soothing. I find that, when kids are used to watching fast paced shows and shows in which the scenes are super fast in pacing... that they get used to this... and then regular slower paced shows don't interest them or their attention spans....they get de-sensitized to it. *The KEY is...They get used to what they are shown, basically, for better or for worse. And- some children WILL mimic (ie: learn from) what they see on TV, for better or for worse.

As a child gets older, as they watch TV... get in the practice of discussing what is shown, "teach" them in this way, see what they think about it and why.. .and use it as an opportunity to teach them about the world. This way, they can learn about discernment and hopefully gain "wisdom" and acquire good judgement in the future.

You can also rent child/baby friendly videos from places like NetFlix etc. It's real great and you can see the people's reviews of it.

All in all, I'm sure many Parents have used TV as a way for them to keep a baby/child busy while they cook dinner etc., and to just relax. Yes, the main thing being, NOT to use it as a "babysitter" as you say. TV does calm some children down however.

Pace it... just don't let it be a "habit" for the child to rely on. If anything, do research on it and do a Google search for the studies on TV watching upon children.

There are many educational & musical type videos... aimed at babies and children. So, I guess these "experts" feel it's okay. My daughter learned different languages and reading and numbers from the Leap Frog videos, and she enjoyed the music/singing type videos too. So that's an example of, I guess, "positive" learning from TV.

Good luck, I know most Parents wonder about this too.
Take care,



answers from San Diego on

Hi M., babies not watching TV till they are two, is not true, they have baby ienstien videos now. and it's not that your baby is watching the TV, it's the movement on the screen that soothes your baby, I see nothing wrong with that, like you said you don't want to use it as a baby sitter, a lot of mom's do. I have never heard that babies can't watch TV. If so then that would through the Baby Instien video's out the window. Mom for 24 years J.



answers from Los Angeles on

i dont think there should be a problem, they say that it isnt good bc some parents will use it as a babysitter, but thats not what you want to do, sometimes babies like the colours that are being displayed on the tv



answers from Las Vegas on

I am sure you will get alot of responses on this one. I never really liked the idea of watching tv-infact I would not miss it if we did not have one-however my daughter now 21/2 and my son 16 months watch TV not all day and it is mostly dvds they watch besides Sesame Street and a few other programs. I do limit it and do not use it as a babysitter, but I also take part with them and teach them if it is something to learn from-so all in all I think a moderate amount is ok. We sit together and wind down at night before we read.I am sure we all watch some tv at a young age and I am doing fine. L.

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