As a new parent we want to make the right decisions for our children. This includes watching television. Should parents allow their babies to watch TV? That all depends.
If you follow the strict guidelines set up by the America Academy of Pediatrics, you would limit your baby’s screen time to none before the age of two. The AAP believes it is harmful for babies to be exposed to television before their 2nd birthdays. Although some studies have been done as to the harmful effects of TV viewing in such young children, the content that the babies were exposed to is not particularly clear. This is where parents have to use discernment to make a good decision.
No baby should be exposed to mindless television viewing. This includes cartoons. There is nothing to be learned from watching this type of programming. It is more of an electronic babysitter than anything else. It distracts the baby and fills them up with nothing good.
Parents that are not so hardcore, anti-televison viewing may be interested in the many educational DVDs that are now on the market. Since studies have not been done on the effects of babies that watch educational content it is difficult to come to the same conclusion as the AAP. Many babies have been able to learn how to read, sign language and foreign language all through the use of educational DVDs before the age of 2.
What is very important is that parents view the content and determine if what is happening on the screen is relevant to what is being said. There are many DVDs on the market that claim to be educational, yet what happens on screen has nothing to do with what is being narrated, or perhaps they lack narration all together.
While nothing can replace the interactions between babies and their parents, the use of educational DVDs can help parents introduce subjects that are important to them such as reading and foreign language, even if they have no experience with these subjects at all.
Many babies have benefitted greatly from such programs as Signing Time, Little Pim, Your Baby Can Read and MonkiSee. These programs all have excellent video to narration content. What is happening on the screen is explained to the viewer, allowing connections to made. Select programs that are rich in language and expand your baby’s vocabulary. The previous studies that have been done did not take into account the benefits of television viewing with programs such as these.
The ultimate decision is up to the parent. If you are not strongly opposed to TV watching, some of the above mentioned programs may be just what you need.