AAP and Toddlers ~ spot on or "research yada yada yada"

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AAP and Toddlers ~ spot on or "research yada yada yada"

http://www.aap.org/sections/media/toddlerstv.htm

TV and Toddlers

It may be tempting to put your infant or toddler in front of the television, especially to watch shows created just for children under age two. But the American Academy of Pediatrics says: Don't do it! These early years are crucial in a child's development. The Academy is concerned about the impact of television programming intended for children younger than age two and how it could affect your child's development. Pediatricians strongly oppose targeted programming, especially when it's used to market toys, games, dolls, unhealthy food and other products to toddlers. Any positive effect of television on infants and toddlers is still open to question, but the benefits of parent-child interactions are proven. Under age two, talking, singing, reading, listening to music or playing are far more important to a child's development than any TV show. For more information on your child's health, visit www.aap.org.

Do you believe that TV before the age of two is harmful to developing young minds? Do you ban or limit TV from your toddlers? Do you limit it for your older children? Do you agree with the AAP, or find that this advice may be right, but just isn't practical for you or your family for some reason? Discuss.

Joined: 01/18/06
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I think this is a lot like the 'no alcohol while pregnant' thing. In this culture, if we're told something is okay in moderation there will be more people prone to going all out and not knowing where to draw the line. So, instead of telling people 'moderation', they are told 'none at all'. CYA, I think. They don't want people sitting their kids in front of the electronic babysitter all day, getting fat and lazy.

My kids watch some tv. I'm not opposed to it. We limit it to no-commercial channels and dvd's. Partly cause I hate commercials, partly cause channels like YTV drive me UP THE WALL with their annoying commentary.

Joined: 03/14/09
Posts: 624

I agree. No, I don't think tv is great for the under-two set. No, I don't show my own stuff at that age, but I also don't make their dad turn off soccer when they are in the room either. It's not like mine pay attention anyway! Room for moderation, definitely.

My over-2 kids watch some tv, but we are limited just because of how little we are in the house.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
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We limit tv for everyone in our house. Its turned off most of the day.

But when it is on, i don't make my toddler leave the room.

I think too much tv is harmful for a child of any age....and grown ups too to some extent (just not in the same way)

Joined: 05/31/06
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Every study I have ever read proves that the more TV watching adults do, the worse off they are. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sleeping-angels/200908/watching-tv-leads-obesity Just one example.

We don't let our babies watch TV till they are over two, and then it is limited to 40 minutes a day of on demand shows. We never have to make the baby leave the room, he is already in bed when my older two get TV time. I think that by having the tv on all day, or specificially putting on programming intended for your toddler, you are creating an addiction at an early age, and one which statistically will not serve them well as they age.

I feel like the world in general can be way overstimulating to me as an adult, I can't imagine being a toddler and navigating a house filled with TV noise, and Ipod playing, etc etc etc. We keep it off all day, I just feel like it is easier on their little brains to interact with people rather than screens, at this age. I'm with the AAP on this one.

I know that people love to talk about how Bob the Builder "taught" their two year old to say "hammer!".....but I feel quite confident that actual interaction with a parent could teach the same thing in a better and more meaningful way.

I'm with Kim in that I think that too much (which I probably define differently than other people) is a negative for both children and adults.

RebeccaA'07's picture
Joined: 11/19/07
Posts: 1628

We're in the camp of "everything in moderation". DD gets plenty of interaction with us and other children/adults, she reads plenty of books, she sings songs, in fact every morning and evening while we're driving to and from daycare...we listen to her children's CD and she can sing nearly every song.

But she still watches her cartoons - and I'm OK with her watching a few episodes a day. They aren't violent, but educational. She watched Mickey Mouse before two, that was the only cartoon she was interested in. Now it's Dora, which shows her couting / shapes / colors, etc. We don't eat any meal in front of the TV either.

RebeccaA'07's picture
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"Potter75" wrote:

Every study I have ever read proves that the more TV watching adults do, the worse off they are. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sleeping-angels/200908/watching-tv-leads-obesity Just one example.

I think that by having the tv on all day, or specificially putting on programming intended for your toddler, you are creating an addiction at an early age, and one which statistically will not serve them well as they age.

See this is the issue. Letting your child watch TV ALL day with no other interaction then cartoons is bad. I see the same issue with parents always making their kids "go play" - but yet not play with them. I don't think letting them watch an episode or two is doing "damage" or "causing addiction". The parents have to be the parents, they have to also teach their children and guide them to what is right. They have to tell the child no and not let them rule the TV.

Joined: 05/31/06
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"RebeccaA'07" wrote:

See this is the issue. Letting your child watch TV ALL day with no other interaction then cartoons is bad. I see the same issue with parents always making their kids "go play" - but yet not play with them. I don't think letting them watch an episode or two is doing "damage" or "causing addiction". The parents have to be the parents, they have to also teach their children and guide them to what is right. They have to tell the child no and not let them rule the TV.

I mean parents having the TV on all day, whether the child is watching it all day or not. It is still background noise, leads to less verbal interaction, and teaches young kids that being exposed (if not actively watching) television for 10 or 12 hours a day is normal. That is unhealthy, IMO. I don't think that there is anything moderate about that in the mind of a young toddler.

elleon17's picture
Joined: 01/26/09
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I admit he watches tv, but only his shows. maybe 2 shows a day.

My dad is horrible about it though because he likes that DS will cuddle with him on the couch when we watches the educational on demand programs.

I will say one thing though, that the educational programs have really helped him learn and reinterate what we have been working on. He is just over two and can do the entire alphabet and indentify all letters individually, counts to 20 and can spell basic words like cat, his name, apple, ball, etc. For us that has been a combination of working with him and showing him all the stuff outside the house and some of the educational baby boost programs that are on demand.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
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I agree, all things in moderation. A few minutes of a baby watching Baby Einstein might just give that new mother enough of a breather to keep her from snapping. Let her get in that shower and have an overall better outlook on life. A happy mom is always good for baby. That said, a baby or young toddler should not watch hours upon hours of TV a day. We do not get any broadcast channels so the only TV my girls watch are movies. My 2 yo has just recently started sitting down with my other girls if they are watching a movie. She generally is not interested in TV. My other girls were not interested in TV at that age either. Even for the older girls generally will watch a movie if it is raining out or on a Saturday morning. This week is a little different because it is Thanksgiving break. There are many days that our TV never gets turned on. (However as you all know, I could stand to be on the computer less)

Joined: 11/28/06
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You already know where I stand on this one. My girls do enjoy watching TV in the evenings and I have no problem with it. I've programmed the channels I'll allow them to watch on the TV in their playroom and they can watch 1 show a day on weekdays (when we have time, usually we don't) and unlimited TV on Sundays. They are very active kids and I think some relaxing down time is good.

Joined: 03/08/03
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TV in moderation, and at that age, pretty much supervised. My kids watch almost nothing with commercials, and we always fast forward through the few shows that have them. (Phineas and Ferb and Star Wars THe Clone Wars cartoon are the only ones I can think of.) We don't watch any adult tv with the kids around at all, and it's never on as background. (But I LOVE tv and watch a lot of the shows I like once the kids are in bed.)

You can watch tv WITH your kids and make it more interactive, and there are lots of interactive shows for them these days. So I don't go crazy over those reports. My son didn't watch tv before 2 because he wasn't interested, my daughter did and does, she likes to watch early in the morning when the house is mostly still asleep. I just move out to the couch and sleep there while she watches, and it's usually Olivia or Curious George...I'm not worried that she will be negatively affected by those.

It's about what you watch, how you watch, and how much of it you watch. (And who you watch with!)

Joined: 06/04/07
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Maybe it's deja vu, but I thought we discussed this before? What they didn't include in the article is the effects of parents interacting with the kids while watching or hearing the t.v. I agree that too much t.v. is not a good thing for anyone, but moderation is the key. I don't think it's a good idea to plop a kid down under the age of two to make them watch t.v. so mom could take a shower or whatever, especially if they're not mobile. Mine would never stay put and I wouldn't trust them out of sight for that length of time. Why not shower either before they wake up or while they're napping or sleeping the night before at that age?

But I also don't think it's harmful for it to be background noise be it a child's program or a program the parent is watching. IME, my kids never sat still long enough to watch a t.v. program under the age of two and my youngest still don't. When we're busy doing other things, they all follow us instead of pay attention to t.v. But when they hear a song being sung wherever they're at, they sing along and I or DH joins in. I don't see it as much different as background music which we also play often. That said, one of my youngest has always loved to watch disney movies and actually sat through almost all of them regardless of the age while the rest when under two ran like squirrels during the movie while watching it at the same time while we're actively participating with them. But I also don't see it as any different if a child watches a kid geared educational show on t.v. than playing an educational game on the p.c. or watching clips through utube or other websites that show chidren's stories.

That said, we often have the t.v. on more as background noise. The kids are usually our shadows, but J sometimes watches it during quiet time while her sisters nap. My older kids watch at night sometimes, but it's more common they're on the p.c.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
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The background noise tv i am most definitely adamantly against. It is the way i grew up and that experience has made me certain i do not want it for my kids.

I found it hard in college to study without the tv on because it was too quiet. But in reality studying with it on was not great either. It took a long time to 'de-program' me from needing the tv on as background noise and even now i still get a little antsy when its not on. Especially in the evening.

I do ok for myself certainly,but i find it hard to focus a lot...i get distracted easily and i crave sensory input.

While i can't say for certain that the tv being on all the time in my house was the reason for that....i think it seems pretty in line with what the studies say.

I think sometimes it feels harmless but its not. I think i would function a little better had i not grown up that way.

ETA: also wanted to say i agree with Laurie's post.

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"KimPossible" wrote:

The background noise tv i am most definitely adamantly against. It is the way i grew up and that experience has made me certain i do not want it for my kids.

I found it hard in college to study without the tv on because it was too quiet. But in reality studying with it on was not great either. It took a long time to 'de-program' me from needing the tv on as background noise and even now i still get a little antsy when its not on. Especially in the evening.

I do ok for myself certainly,but i find it hard to focus a lot...i get distracted easily and i crave sensory input.

While i can't say for certain that the tv being on all the time in my house was the reason for that....i think it seems pretty in line with what the studies say.

I think sometimes it feels harmless but its not. I think i would function a little better had i not grown up that way.

ETA: also wanted to say i agree with Laurie's post.

I agree with this somewhat as I also am one that loves having sounds when in the middle of cleaning or cooking. If it's not the t.v. (which is most certainly not all of the time) that's on, it's music. I find the sounds to energize me more, especially music when it has a rhythm to it, rather than being a distraction.

But when I'm having down time, or when I was studying, it would either be no sounds at all or classical music. I would be distracted if it were anything else when I'm trying to focus on subjects that required my full attention. But studying for our older kids is now only done in their bedrooms where there is no t.v. unless they need our assistance or need to use the p.c. for an assignment. When they were younger, they were always in the dining room after school if they had homework until their work was done. T.V. may have been in the background but not for kid shows and their work was not affected at all by it nor did I have any issues on them not staying on task. When the work became more challenging did they start taking their work to their rooms because they found it more difficult to focus, not because of t.v., but because of family distractions especially when their youngest siblings arrived.

b525's picture
Joined: 06/06/07
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I tend to see it as a moderation thing. I really limited TV viewing with my first son, almost to nothing, but was much less vigilant with the second. They don't watch much, though, usually in the morning while I'm doing the last few things before we leave for school/work and in the evening while I start dinner.

I don't like the idea of TV as "background" because I think part of the problem with TV is the quick changes of focus. Even if the kids aren't watching, their brains are processing these extremely short segments and information input. I would prefer background music because songs tend to last longer than 30 seconds. I don't know if I'm explaining that well...

Personally, I don't like background noise AT ALL! I think it's because my brain is on noise overload from instruments and singing all day that it just needs a break. But, I do find that background music helps to settle my boys while they play.

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"b525" wrote:

I tend to see it as a moderation thing. I really limited TV viewing with my first son, almost to nothing, but was much less vigilant with the second. They don't watch much, though, usually in the morning while I'm doing the last few things before we leave for school/work and in the evening while I start dinner.

I don't like the idea of TV as "background" because I think part of the problem with TV is the quick changes of focus. Even if the kids aren't watching, their brains are processing these extremely short segments and information input. I would prefer background music because songs tend to last longer than 30 seconds. I don't know if I'm explaining that well...

Personally, I don't like background noise AT ALL! I think it's because my brain is on noise overload from instruments and singing all day that it just needs a break. But, I do find that background music helps to settle my boys while they play.

I absolutely agree with this. I think background TV is bad for adults, and worse for kids.

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I love listening to music and that to me is appropriate for background.

KimPossible's picture
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"b525" wrote:

I don't like the idea of TV as "background" because I think part of the problem with TV is the quick changes of focus. Even if the kids aren't watching, their brains are processing these extremely short segments and information input. I would prefer background music because songs tend to last longer than 30 seconds. I don't know if I'm explaining that well...

Nope, i think you said it really well. I absolutely agree.

Joined: 12/10/05
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I completely agree, which is why we don't have cable.

My kids do watch Treehouse at Grandma's, which is a big treat, and we have DVD's at home, but, yes, screen time is certainly limited.

I absolutely HATE the background noise of TV.

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
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We dont watch tv during the week at our house until after the kids go to bed, and then I find myself waiting to watch most stuff I like on the DVR so I can skip commercials. So I would say my kids get less then 5 hours in an entire week. We do have movie night every friday so that it the biggest part of the time they get.
I have never shut the tv off when the baby comes in the room, but I dont think he has ever paid any attention to anything but football and this show on Discovery with Fish on it.

I think that the AAP is right in their suggestions on this issue. I have some students that I know watch a lot of TV and every one of them is struggling to keep up in class. I dont believe that they are any less intelligent, they just seem to not have as much focus. The kids that really excel are the ones that do things like board games or puzzles on a regular basis, those kids can focus for a very long time.

Alissa_Sal's picture
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"freddieflounder101" wrote:

TV in moderation, and at that age, pretty much supervised. My kids watch almost nothing with commercials, and we always fast forward through the few shows that have them. (Phineas and Ferb and Star Wars THe Clone Wars cartoon are the only ones I can think of.) We don't watch any adult tv with the kids around at all, and it's never on as background. (But I LOVE tv and watch a lot of the shows I like once the kids are in bed.)

You can watch tv WITH your kids and make it more interactive, and there are lots of interactive shows for them these days. So I don't go crazy over those reports. My son didn't watch tv before 2 because he wasn't interested, my daughter did and does, she likes to watch early in the morning when the house is mostly still asleep. I just move out to the couch and sleep there while she watches, and it's usually Olivia or Curious George...I'm not worried that she will be negatively affected by those.

It's about what you watch, how you watch, and how much of it you watch. (And who you watch with!)

I agree with this.

We don't do the whole "background noise" thing - to me, if we're not watching it I see no purpose in having it on. But I also don't mind if he watches TV for a half an hour while I get ready for work in the mornings if he wakes up early, or part of a movie in the evenings between dinner and bed time. I don't consider that time to be "good for him" or "educational" even if it is an educational program, but I also don't think it's harming him.

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"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

I agree with this.

We don't do the whole "background noise" thing - to me, if we're not watching it I see no purpose in having it on. But I also don't mind if he watches TV for a half an hour while I get ready for work in the mornings if he wakes up early, or part of a movie in the evenings between dinner and bed time. I don't consider that time to be "good for him" or "educational" even if it is an educational program, but I also don't think it's harming him.

This is my DH... but it's more about conserving energy for him. He prefers music to be played almost 24/7.

culturedmom's picture
Joined: 09/30/06
Posts: 1131

This is very hard for me. I love tv. My parents worked so I was home alone alot after school for long periods of time. So tv was my buddy. I woke up every morning at 5 am just to watch Mr.Wizard. I stayed up late to watch movies on the Disney Channel like Zorro and Shirley Temple classics. I am smart so I don't think it effected my intellegence and because of the shows I watched I think I did learn alot (my father learned English watching tv in int he US).

however that said I am not as physicaly fit as I should be because of it as well. I do think had I been out with other kids playing outside (I couldn;t because my parents were not home) I would be a much more active person. I do think that kids can do fine without tv and that there is a direct link ot the more tv kids watch the worse it is for them. I agree with the posters who say moderation is key however the parameters of moderation is different for everyone.

I guess I know that I am not perfect and no one can follow every guideline the AAP sets to the T. As long as I make it up in other areas, I am sure my kids will be fine. Howvere I do think the AAP is dead on and I do think they are a good source of information. I would believe the AAP over just about any other group when it comes to policies and info on the health of children.

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Lana -- I love tv too. I always joke that it helped raise me. I romanticize it too, there are shows that truly inspired me as a kid the way books & music have always inspired me. Star Trek was huge for me (and taught me a lot) and I think The Mary Tyler Moore Show is why I became a tv producer. I was a writer too and would write my own little scripts & plots.

Also...not physically fit. I have only started getting in shape this past year.

So you have company in your tv-loving world. I watched all the Shirley Temple movies too!

ftmom's picture
Joined: 09/04/06
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I love when these debates come up, cause they always remind me to cut back on the TV in our house:p We are pretty bad. We have kids shows on first thing in the morning for an hour or 2. Then we go out, eat lunch, nap, turn the TV on again after nap. I do try to limit in the afternoon, but often forget to turn it off.

That said, my kids dont sit and watch TV all day. It is totally background sounds for them as they play (which is why I forget, I think). But I know just having the TV on can be pretty bad...so thanks for the reminder ladies!

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
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I honestly tend to think of the "how much TV" question as more of a SAHM thing, to be honest. Just because, at least 5 of the 7 days of the week, we're just not home enough for T to be watching 10 hours a day of TV. Like I said, occasionally he wakes up early while I'm getting ready for work, and that adds an extra half an hour of TV watching, but other than that we're typically only home about 2-3 hours before his bed time, and part of that is spent eating dinner (which we don't do in front of the TV), having a bath, not to mention just playing, coloring, et cetera. I'd guess he watches less than an hour a day on most week days, again, simply because he's not home enough to watch it more than that.

He definitely watches more TV on the weekends. He's sitting at my feet watching Finding Nemo right now! But even on the weekends, I don't like to stay home for extended periods of time. I get too stir crazy! So we run errands, go to the park, go for walks, go to the Museum, whatever. I just can't sit at home all day - I get bored myself. So again, he doesn't have a big opportunity to watch a ton of TV.

FLSunshineMom's picture
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I think we did have this discussion before, but I don't mind discussing it again.

I agree that it's better for children to have one-on-one interaction with their parents; however, I don't think a limited amount of TV is harmful. The article seems to be more directed toward children under two, but I tend to think most children under two aren't going to watch TV for an extended period of time anyway, because they'd rather be trying to get the TV plug to chew on it.

I'm not sure what the "limit" should be exactly. I do know that my DD probably watches more than she should. She doesn't watch a lot of cartoons, and usually only an hour at most when she does, but does watch movies/videos via DVDs, mostly at night after dinner. I would never let her sit and watch TV all day, and we don't keep the TV on as background noise, either. In fact, it drives me bonkers for it to be on when we aren't watching it. I enjoy the peace and quiet (I don't watch much TV at all myself. However, I did watch quite a bit when I was younger.).

culturedmom's picture
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I came to realizationthat 1.quantitative scientific research can be done in a more controlled setting and thus the causal link can be more exact while research on behavioral issues that introduce qualitative methods is harder to pin point and seperate out all variables. and 2. outside variables change everything.

Meaning, if the AAP says according to their scientific research second hand smoke is dangerous for children, to me that research can be done with as much control over the variables as possible. There are really very few things one can do to cause a big enough effect to change that outcome. however, when they say research finds that kids shouldn't watch tv, it is impossible to control every variable that would effect that outcome. I am sure a kid who watches tv 10 hours a week to pass the time in a troubled home will be very different then a kid who watched tv 10 hrs. a week but has involved, loving parents.

So that doesn't necessarily mean that I think this research is yadda yadda but I do weigh different styles of research differently.

FLSunshineMom's picture
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"culturedmom" wrote:

I came to realizationthat 1.quantitative scientific research can be done in a more controlled setting and thus the causal link can be more exact while research on behavioral issues that introduce qualitative methods is harder to pin point and seperate out all variables. and 2. outside variables change everything.

Meaning, if the AAP says according to their scientific research second hand smoke is dangerous for children, to me that research can be done with as much control over the variables as possible. There are really very few things one can do to cause a big enough effect to change that outcome. however, when they say research finds that kids shouldn't watch tv, it is impossible to control every variable that would effect that outcome. I am sure a kid who watches tv 10 hours a week to pass the time in a troubled home will be very different then a kid who watched tv 10 hrs. a week but has involved, loving parents.

So that doesn't necessarily mean that I think this research is yadda yadda but I do weigh different styles of research differently.

I agree.

Joined: 05/31/06
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I think that regardless of research or methodology or whatever there is just no reason for a baby to watch TV. I think that it is lazy.

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"Potter75" wrote:

I think that regardless of research or methodology or whatever there is just no reason for a baby to watch TV. I think that it is lazy.

I do agree that there's no reason for a baby to watch tv. But when I had newborns, I wanted to watch my tv, and did. As soon as they got a little older, I stopped watching when they were around.

AlyssaEimers's picture
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"Potter75" wrote:

I think that regardless of research or methodology or whatever there is just no reason for a baby to watch TV. I think that it is lazy.

I think this is pretty judgmental. Until we are in someone else's shoes, it is hard to say that a baby should never watch TV. Is it ideal? No, but just because it happens do not make someone a bad or lazy parent.

Rivergallery's picture
Joined: 05/23/03
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I don't think I worried about it too much, WE don't have TV but I would watch a movie with them no problem, sometimes they would be on my lap, sometimes asleep sometimes playing or running around. NOW as kids I am more careful about how much movie watching they do.

I think there is a tendancy to laze around when you have a baby, not sure it is all wrong. I don't see TV viewing as nessecarily lazy in general so why would I see it as lazy all the time if a baby is involved. SOMETIMES sure. Avoiding your baby in order to watch tv, or not wanting to deal with your baby so putting them in front of the tv are both lazy. Are they always wrong... no.

culturedmom's picture
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"Potter75" wrote:

I think that regardless of research or methodology or whatever there is just no reason for a baby to watch TV. I think that it is lazy.

I agree, it is lazy. But I guess if any time I could excuse laziness is when I had a little one and no sleep. So if my 1 /1/2 yo would sit in front of a tv for a few minutes means I can pee without a baby on my lap, so be it. lol

Alissa_Sal's picture
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"culturedmom" wrote:

I agree, it is lazy. But I guess if any time I could excuse laziness is when I had a little one and no sleep. So if my 1 /1/2 yo would sit in front of a tv for a few minutes means I can pee without a baby on my lap, so be it. lol

Yes, and furthermore, I guess I am wondering about the definition of "letting a baby watch TV." If I am watching a cooking show (I love cooking shows) or DH is watching football for a few minutes while baby plays in the same room, is that "letting a baby watch TV"? I guess what I'm really asking is do most people literally NEVER watch their own adult programming while their babies are in the room? Because I guess I feel like there is a difference between putting on a kid's show for a baby and sitting them in front of it than letting them be in the room with a program that is not specifically aimed at them. I don't watch a ton of TV anyway, but I am honestly curious if most people refuse to watch any sort of "adult" programming while their kids are in the room. (Obviously by "adult" I don't mean anything "inappropriate", just not children's programs - again, like sports or cooking shows.)

culturedmom's picture
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Rereading the article off the AAP website, I do not think they are talking about babies being placed in front of the tv for a few minutes for mom to get a break or having your baby with you while you watch your adult shows. They specifically say shows aimed at toddlers for the purpose of continued long stretches of tv watching. Nothing good (other then a break for mom) can come from a 1 yo regularly watching tv for the purpose of entertainment. I also think since they emphasize the importance of one on one interactions for learning, they are also hinting at the videos like "learn to read" and things like that where they believe parental interaction is better. I agree 100%.

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I think this is pretty judgmental. Until we are in someone else's shoes, it is hard to say that a baby should never watch TV. Is it ideal? No, but just because it happens do not make someone a bad or lazy parent.

I freely admit that I am judgmental about it.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

Yes, and furthermore, I guess I am wondering about the definition of "letting a baby watch TV." If I am watching a cooking show (I love cooking shows) or DH is watching football for a few minutes while baby plays in the same room, is that "letting a baby watch TV"? I guess what I'm really asking is do most people literally NEVER watch their own adult programming while their babies are in the room? Because I guess I feel like there is a difference between putting on a kid's show for a baby and sitting them in front of it than letting them be in the room with a program that is not specifically aimed at them. I don't watch a ton of TV anyway, but I am honestly curious if most people refuse to watch any sort of "adult" programming while their kids are in the room. (Obviously by "adult" I don't mean anything "inappropriate", just not children's programs - again, like sports or cooking shows.)

I do think that they specifically talk some about the whole background noise thing and how it is proven to impact language development. We never have it on when the baby is awake save for some sunday football, but he naps through the first games so maybe is awake and playing with his sibs for an hour or two a week while the TV might be on. He doesn't watch it, and that is an acceptable amount for us, of course every family will be different. Again though, I just don't like much TV and DH is too busy between school and work to have it be on a lot. It's not like I'm secretly pining away to sit around watching it all day but leave it off because I am such an awesome parent martyr Smile TV makes me feel lazy. I am addicted to the HBO series however, and that is my weekly sunday night treat, but my kids are all sleeping.

I am more talking about pointedly plopping your 1 year old down to "Watch TV" and justifying it by proclaiming it to be all "educational". It isn't.

Joined: 11/28/06
Posts: 848

Why does every waking hour for a child need to be "educational"? Kids need down time too, and cuddling on the couch while watching Dora can be such fun. I'll admit, we really like our TV in this house but I can honestly say it hasn't been detrimental to our family in any way, and I have two intelligent well-rounded girls despite the hours they've logged in front of the set.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

Who said that every hour has to be educational? I love down time. Down time does not have to be detrimental, however. TV is proven to be detrimental for those under 2. Laying and reading books, or cooking, or taking a hike, or playing with friends are all fun and relaxing downtime activities which are not proven to be detrimental to little children.

Watching Dora would not be fun for me. Cuddling, yes.

Joined: 11/28/06
Posts: 848

"Potter75" wrote:

Who said that every hour has to be educational? I love down time. Down time does not have to be detrimental, however. TV is proven to be detrimental for those under 2. Laying and reading books, or cooking, or taking a hike, or playing with friends are all fun and relaxing downtime activities which are not proven to be detrimental to little children.

Watching Dora would not be fun for me. Cuddling, yes.

I can guarantee, with 100% certainty, that watching a 30 minute episode of Dora (or substitute any other kid show) while cuddling on the couch with a parent is not detrimental to a young child. That's just silly. Watching 4 hours of cartoons while a parent is in the other room on the computer? Sure, that's detrimental. The difference is interaction and moderation (which you must admit, makes a HUGE difference).

And cooking or hiking with a 1 year old is not "down time" in my world, lol.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

"Potter75" wrote:

I do think that they specifically talk some about the whole background noise thing and how it is proven to impact language development. We never have it on when the baby is awake save for some sunday football, but he naps through the first games so maybe is awake and playing with his sibs for an hour or two a week while the TV might be on. He doesn't watch it, and that is an acceptable amount for us, of course every family will be different. Again though, I just don't like much TV and DH is too busy between school and work to have it be on a lot. It's not like I'm secretly pining away to sit around watching it all day but leave it off because I am such an awesome parent martyr Smile TV makes me feel lazy. I am addicted to the HBO series however, and that is my weekly sunday night treat, but my kids are all sleeping.

I am more talking about pointedly plopping your 1 year old down to "Watch TV" and justifying it by proclaiming it to be all "educational". It isn't.

To the bolded, I agree - I don't really think there is a reason to let a toddler watch TV that is "good for them." Good for the parent maybe (in that it gives you a free half an hour to cook dinner while the kid is entertained, or whatever) but not really good for the kid, no matter what they are watching.

It was the "background" noise aspect that I was talking about in my last post. I will totally admit that when I watch TV, I am not as engaged with talking to my son as I would be without it, so I get the whole language development thing. On the other hand, I have the type of personality where it is hard for me to hold a conversation when anything is absorbing my attention, be that reading a book, being on my computer, even cooking and cleaning depending on how absorbed in the task I am. So, it's totally true that when I'm watching TV I am not actively engaging my small child, and the time that I spend doing those things could be spent helping them develop their language sills, but that same argument applies to a lot of things I do, just because when I tend to get really focused on something, I have a hard time breaking that focus to chat.

All of which, I think is okay, particularly as the child gets older. The older T gets, the more I encourage him to play independently. I actually don't think it's either reasonable nor even healthy to think that parents should engage with their children every waking moment. I think that the ability to entertain himself will serve him well throughout his life, and I think that there are types of play that he wouldn't engage in if I were there to direct everything for him. On Thursday morning, he was playing outside by himself while I did a little bit of cooking to take to my mom's house. I was watching him through the kitchen window, and at one point he just laid down and watched the sky for a while. I thought it was awesome that he was out there thinking his own thoughts and staring at the sky - I doubt that would have happened if I had been out there with him. Anyway, my point is, I agree that too much parent TV (or kid TV) can have a negative impact if it really cuts into the amount of interaction that parents and kids have throughout a day, but I also think that it's unreasonable and unhealthy for parents to try to interact with their children every waking moment. Everyone needs time to themselves to watch the clouds go by and think their own thoughts.

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Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6561

"Alana*sMommy" wrote:

And cooking or hiking with a 1 year old is not "down time" in my world, lol.

In mine either.

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Joined: 11/19/07
Posts: 1628

"Alana*sMommy" wrote:

I can guarantee, with 100% certainty, that watching a 30 minute episode of Dora (or substitute any other kid show) while cuddling on the couch with a parent is not detrimental to a young child. That's just silly. Watching 4 hours of cartoons while a parent is in the other room on the computer? Sure, that's detrimental. The difference is interaction and moderation (which you must admit, makes a HUGE difference).

And cooking or hiking with a 1 year old is not "down time" in my world, lol.

Yep, Agreed! I adore cuddle time on the couch, even if I had to endure some Dora!

Further...I feel like it needs to be defined further about TV usage? Are we talking a couple episodes (30 mins) as being this incredibly harmful thing? Or hours in front of the TV without any parental or adult interaction?

I let my 2.5 year old watch a couple episodes of Dora or Bubble Guppies, I can assure you that her language has not been "impacted" as it continues to be stated in this thread...nor is she developmentally behind because she watches cartoons.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3189

Um...Dora is where I DO think it's detrimental. LOL! It makes kids yell instead of talking. (Sorry, but Dora drives me bonkers and I can't understand why she has to shout everything all the time.)

But I know what you mean.

I get snuggle time watching Curious George or Olivia with my 4-year-old and it's loads of fun. Same for Star Wars The Clone Wars with my son.

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Joined: 09/30/06
Posts: 1131

"freddieflounder101" wrote:

Um...Dora is where I DO think it's detrimental. LOL! It makes kids yell instead of talking. (Sorry, but Dora drives me bonkers and I can't understand why she has to shout everything all the time.)

But I know what you mean.

I get snuggle time watching Curious George or Olivia with my 4-year-old and it's loads of fun. Same for Star Wars The Clone Wars with my son.

Because us Latins are loud!!!

My DD hated Dora. She hated how she never asked people to do things but just told them to do it "Find the tree" and "Look for Swifter". LOL

Joined: 11/28/06
Posts: 848

"freddieflounder101" wrote:

Um...Dora is where I DO think it's detrimental. LOL! It makes kids yell instead of talking. (Sorry, but Dora drives me bonkers and I can't understand why she has to shout everything all the time.)

But I know what you mean.

I get snuggle time watching Curious George or Olivia with my 4-year-old and it's loads of fun. Same for Star Wars The Clone Wars with my son.

Honestly, there are very few kids shows that don't drive me crazy, lol. I love Sesame Street but it was never a fav for my kids. And Phineas and Ferb is actually pretty entertaining. But what I really enjoy is just relaxing, cuddling my kids, and savoring the moment. Before I know it they'll be out with their friends and cuddle time with Mom will be a thing of the past.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3189

I love Phineas and Ferb too!

I put up with Yo Gabba Gabba even though I hate it, but I simply can't sit through Dora. It makes me want to drill my ears out.

But yeah...most things I will watch for the free snuggles. I'm right there with you. I am constantly reminding myself that one day they'll be up and out, have to enjoy it while I can.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

All of which, I think is okay, particularly as the child gets older. The older T gets, the more I encourage him to play independently. I actually don't think it's either reasonable nor even healthy to think that parents should engage with their children every waking moment. I think that the ability to entertain himself will serve him well throughout his life, and I think that there are types of play that he wouldn't engage in if I were there to direct everything for him. On Thursday morning, he was playing outside by himself while I did a little bit of cooking to take to my mom's house. I was watching him through the kitchen window, and at one point he just laid down and watched the sky for a while. I thought it was awesome that he was out there thinking his own thoughts and staring at the sky - I doubt that would have happened if I had been out there with him. Anyway, my point is, I agree that too much parent TV (or kid TV) can have a negative impact if it really cuts into the amount of interaction that parents and kids have throughout a day, but I also think that it's unreasonable and unhealthy for parents to try to interact with their children every waking moment. Everyone needs time to themselves to watch the clouds go by and think their own thoughts.

I could not agree more. Luckily having kids 13 months apart ensured that my kids learned to be independent players at a very young age ~ honestly I think that it one of the reasons that them not watching TV is so easy, between one another and our friends, they have little need for a parent or television to entertain them all day. In no way, NONE do I advocate child focused entirety of days, I hate legos and tea parties, frankly.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

"RebeccaA'07" wrote:

I let my 2.5 year old watch a couple episodes of Dora or Bubble Guppies, I can assure you that her language has not been "impacted" as it continues to be stated in this thread...nor is she developmentally behind because she watches cartoons.

Of course not ~ this is the debate board after all where we are all gifted and no ones children are immune to not best practices or the dangers of things like bumpers or being left in a car ROFL

It is hard when everyone makes it personal. That is great that you can assure everyone that your child is one who watched it under TV and it was great and educational for them. THat is why I prefer to just keep it to a general debate, to which my stance is that in general there is no upside and that there is downside to allowing a TV to be on all day in a home with babies or to allow kids under one to actively watch hours of TV a day.

I just got back from Puss and Boots with my kids Smile It was great! I'm not anti tv, just anti too much TV or TV for babies.

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