Anybody who has a baby, or who's spent an hour with a baby, knows that babies heart TV. Anything with a glowing screen -- iPhones, computers, cameras -- babies want in on. And while it's cute to see a wee one crane their neck to catch a glimpse of "what's on television", it isn't recommended. The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly urges parents to shun their kids from television until they're 2 years old. The AAP website says: "Television and other entertainment media should be avoided for infants and children under age 2. A child's brain develops rapidly during these first years, and young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens." True that.
So, why are so many moms plopping their babies in front of the television these days?
A new study found that moms with "fussy" babies often turned to TV to soothe them. (This same study found that infants who watched TV in excess may be prone to weight problems and developmental delays in their preschool years.) The reason I put "fussy" in quotes is because this is the term that was used to describe babies who simply were more "active" than babies who are more "still". I.E., they squirm a lot. The study, which was published in the January 7 issue of the journal Pediatrics, found moms with more of a propensity towards infant TV watching were obese or did not graduate from high school.
I've had many days where my daughter is fussing/not napping/and generally just not having fun, but still, I don't put her in front of a TV. Believe me, I don't think I'm mother of the year here or anything, but I'm just saying -- it doesn't feel natural sticking a child in front of a glowing box. And we know the ill-effects it has on kids. If you want to bring your iPad on the plane with you, totally understandable. But on a day-to-day basis, infants should not be plopped in front of the boob tube. They have their entire teenagehood to do that.
There are plenty of ways to soothe a fussy baby: Stick them in the bathtub; "tickle" them with a comb (works every time for me); sing them a song; turn on the radio; take them for a walk; let them pet your dog. These tricks may not get them to quiet down as fast as the TV does, but who said parenting would be easy?
Do you let your baby watch TV?
Image via Scott & Elaine Van der Chijs/Flickr