Monday, October 17, 2011

So, what's your baby's favorite cartoon?

Umm... He's a baby, he doesn't watch TV. (disclaimer : this post is NOT intended to offend anyone nor is it aimed at anyone specifically. I do NOT think you are a bad mom if your baby watches cartoons)

I hadn't ever really thought too much about babies watching tv until Tara at Our Journey posted about it.  I got to thinking about it and I completely agreed with what she was saying, even without the studies supporting it. Here are some great points from Tara's post:

"TV exposure in infants has been associated with increased risk of obesity, attention problems, and decreased sleep quality," researcher Michael Rich, MD, MPH, director of the Center on Media and Child Health, says in the news release. "Parents need to understand that infants and toddlers do not learn or benefit in any way from viewing TV at an early age."

"When one-year olds are playing with a toy, they can explore it, poke at it, drop it," says Yale University Television Researcher Dorothy Singer. "They’re learning about space, about sound, and they’re developing sense of competence. Watching a TV show just doesn’t provide the same sensory experience."

TV exposure in babies younger than 2 doesn't do any good, Schmidt and Christakis agree. But does that mean a few minutes in front of the tube will sentence a baby to remedial classes for the rest of his life? "What I tell parents is 'Ask yourself why you're having your baby watch TV,' " says Christakis. "If you absolutely need a break to take a shower or make dinner, then the risks are quite low. But if you are doing it because you think it's actually good for your child's brain, then you need to rethink that, because there is no evidence of benefit and certainly a risk of harm at high viewing levels."

If you want to stimulate your baby's brain, he says, try simply playing with him. In a recent study, Christakis showed that basic activities like playing with blocks with an 18-month-old can improve his language skills six months later.

The researchers studied 329 children, aged 2 months to 48 months, and found that for each additional hour of television exposure, there was a decrease of 770 words (7 percent) heard from an adult by the children. The study also found that the more hours spent watching television, the fewer vocalizations infants made when adults talked to them.

I know that I am completely able to entertain him and I would much rather Truitt learn from me than the TV.  Add to that the studies showing that it can be harmful and I'm SOLD!   "Educational" or not- they're not helpful and definitely not needed! Now, the TV is on most of the day because I don't do well without background noise but he RARELY shows any interest at all.  The one time he will stop and look at it without fail is during The Price is Right when the wheel is spinning!  Every.single.time it gets him and he stops and watches the tv until the beep,beep,beep stops.
We went to a friend's a week or two ago and she turned on a cartoon and he didn't even stop to look at the TV.  I know as he gets older he will want to watch TV and I'm ok with that-in moderation.  But for now I am going to soak up every second that I can spend with him and entertaining him because I know he won't always think I'm better than technology!

Infants & Television Information:


  1. I think I am one of the only mums in my mothers groups that doesn't let their kid watch tv. Z loves screens. It doesn't matter whether it is the tv, computer, my phone or the video monitor. He's drawn like an intsect but I think it is about the bight flashing light than the image itself. I read that young babies can't process these things as images anyway. I've also read that it stalls development and overstimulates causing chaos with sleep. Another study was something along the lines for every ten minutes of tv a baby watches they have a few less words that they use. Can't remember the specifics. I agree with playing being the best I dint think using the tv to "pacify" a baby is a good thing. Even when Z has been at his worst (and you know what he used to be like) I opted to walk around the house in loops or the garden than sit him in front of the tv. So in short I'm with you on this one as well. Babies learn best by interaction and play. :-)

  2. Sorry for the typos. On my phone and proofing is a little difficult. As is te interference with autocorrect. Xx

  3. Noah didn't watch any TV at all until a few months ago (he's 19 months now). He watches Sesame Street now, and that's pretty much it. We needed to introduce something so that he would mostly stay out of trouble when I'm showering, plus when he wasn't allowed to walk on his broken leg, Sesame Street was a GREAT distraction.

    He doesn't show much interest in other shows, though. Maybe Super Why, but nothing like Sesame Street.

    Anyway, people always asked what his favourite show was, starting when he was like 7 months old. Especially my mother in law. I was like "Uh, he doesn't watch shows. He's not interested in them," (not that I was trying to get him to watch them). And she would say "Oh that's okay, he'll get there." And I was like whaaaat? I'm not trying to get him to "get there"! He doesn't need to watch TV!

  4. Clara doesn't watch TV either. There is just no need. Scott says what would be the point of (him) staying home with her if he just let the TV babysit her?!
    That said, she is getting tough to deal with if he needs to shower when I'm not home. If we could put her in front of something decent like Sesame Street for 15 minutes so he could shower in peace, I don't think that would be a bad thing at all. LOL at people who think babies are learning more from videos than they are from human interaction and even independent playtime!!

  5. When I need to get things done I turn on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or The Backyardigans, but the only time she pays any attention to them is during the "Hot Dog" song and the Backyardigans theme song lol.

  6. I definitely agree with you ladies. If it's something you're doing in order to get something important done that's fine but I don't think you should be doing it regularly to (like Ginger said) occupy the baby as if it were a babysitter!

  7. I never wanted to let mine watch tv, and I didn't at first, but my husband has it on all the time. They payed so much attention to it, and it bothered me that it wasn't appropriate. So I began to let them watch about thirty minutes per day of baby genius or back yardigans. Now they only pay attention when it's their favorite show, not when hubby has something grownup on. I think it's great to give them as little screen time as possible- when you start using it to babysit your child or let them watch all day it's bound to have some negative effects. That being said, 30 minutes once or twice per day is part of our very scheduled routine, and I think they like it so much, because then mama isn't in their space trying to make them learn. Plus it gives me a chance to hold one while the other is occupied (They won't tolerate me holding their brother if they notice I'm doing it)

  8. Maddie doesn't watch TV,(Guilty, I watch the shows) but we do listen to the songs and I sing and dance with her her.LOL. :) Baby Fist Tv has this nighttime music and it lulls her to sleep, heck, it puts ME to sleep.LOL

    I don't like when people use it as a babysitter though, especially when it's on something bad, like MTV!