Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Baby Times! 15th Edition: Babies and Television?

Do you ever put Sesame Street on for you baby or a Baby Einstein video?  I'll admit that I've done both for all three of my children, even though the American Pediatric Association recommends 0 television for babies under 2 years of age. 

Recently, I've read that there are studies that have shown a delay in language development for children under age 2 who watch TV and baby videos.  I have to wonder how much television is being watched for these studies.  My first child watched all of the baby Einstein videos and Sesame Street.  I also played a Raffi video to calm her when she was teething.  I would joke that Raffi music video kept Momma sane during those difficult times.  The reason why I wonder how much TV delays language development, because my first child's vocabulary was ridiculous.  She was saying words like turtle at 9 to 10 months old and actually had a vocabulary of 100 words by the time she was one.  Her doctors would tell me that she would worry the other parents in the waiting room because she was speaking full sentences at a year in a half and parents wondered if their children were developing properly.  My second child's development was similar, maybe not as extreme, but above average for sure.  Beside letting my children watch TV, though, we also sang together,danced to music, talked, read, took walks, played, etc. 

Studies have also shown that early television exposure has been associated with attention problems at age 7. Now this I've often wondered about, because my first does get distracted very easily and I've asked her teachers about it.  They never felt it was a serious issue and she continues to be a mostly A student.  Another thing to keep in mind is that ADD runs in my family, so her mild attention problems could be genetic as well.  My 2nd child doesn't appear to have any attention issues and is functioning above grade level. Again, I haven't seen the study to see how much television and how much other enriching activities are taking place in the subjects lives.

I continue to try to limit TV time for my children, but I haven't quite got to the hour of screen time recommended by the American Pediatrics for their age group and the 0 television time for the baby.  Some days are better than others.  For example, if we rent a movie on a Friday night- there's 2 hours of screen time there and then they probably watched PBS in the morning, so add on that screen time.  Often, I tend to take a happy medium when it comes to issues- not an extremest, but not lax either. 

What is your opinion about television for babies and children?  Does your baby or child watch television or do you follow the APA's recommendations? 

Take Care,
Jen

Resources:
The New York Times: No Einstein in Your Crib? Get a Refund
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/24/education/24baby.html

Health Alert- Baby TV
http://pediatrics.about.com/od/yourbabyweekbyweek/ss/baby_wk_twelve_8.htm

Have you missed any past editions of The Baby Times?
Don't fret, you can find all 15 editions here!  :)

6 comments:

crisc23 said...

I think about this all the time. My daughter has watched Barney since she was 4-5 months old. Watched it all day was the only thing that would keep her content so I could do things.
She watches A LOT of TV but in my defense ALL educational.

She has been talkin since she was 7 1/2 months, knows her shapes, can sing the ABC song at 80%, knows her colors and can have conversations w/ you. She turned 2 in May and can sing 12 different songs.


My son, doesn't watch TV, he might look a it here and there

He doesn't talk, or make any connections like turning on lights. He's 16 months and says a few words ONCE IN A WHILE, and just now started really noticing things

I would say depending on watch your kids watch. Heaven watching the shows helps so when I go to teach her she has already seen it, but she watches a lot.

Terra said...

My child sounds like your child. Her vocab was amazing as a small child and still is at 4 years of age. I'm wondering if those studies are of children whose parents do not talk to them often, read books, or play with them. I mean, moderation is the key to everything right?
I can see a child who watches TV all day to have possible delayed vocab.

The Activity Mom said...

Hmmm thought provoking post!

B watched sesame street starting about about 18 months. I was shocked at how much he learned from it and/or the background knowledge he developed about different things that we could start talking about and making connections to when we read books or went places. I would say there are many days now that he is over a 2 hour limit (age 3 1/2).

Eileen said...

I think Sesame Street is an excellent resource for children. I let all of my children watch it but not other cartoons or junk.

Kirsty said...

Hi Jen!
Thanks for stopping by my blog!
My sister Chicken sounds like your daughter. She watched tones of tv when she was young, in particular Dora the Explorer and picked up so many words. She still has an amazing vocabulary today. And talks in spanish sometimes too. I find that I do it now as well hahaha

shawna said...

Oh Jen,
Honestly unless your kid was left to watch T.V. ALL day unsupervised I don't think it's a big deal letting them watch Sesame street or Baby Einstein.
All these studies can make even the best parent feel like they're winning the crappy parent of the year award for letting their kids watch a little educational T.V.

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