Letting Your Infant Watch TV Is Just Plain Lazy

tv babyAnybody 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

baby first year, baby development

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Blues... Blueshark77

That's pretty much reason #1 my baby's paternal grandmother won't be babysitting. The majority of her time is spent in front of the TV. It's affecting her memory, her physical health (too much sitting), etc. I feel bad that she won't get to do much with the baby besides holding her from time to time, but she can't get down on the floor to play with her, won't take walks, won't be reading to her so I don't know what else she can do with the baby. I know I just don't want my baby sitting in front of the TV.

Pinkmani Pinkmani

I don't remember when I was allowed to watch TV, but when I was a kid I wasn't allowed to watch TV during the week. It was TORTURE!

weird... weirdkids

my now 2yo has been glued to disney since he came home from the hospital but he still fully interacts with people and toys ect. he likes to have it in the background. it keeps him relaxed when playing so that he doesnt get overwhelmed by sounds from other rooms. we tried one of those white noise things but he managed to find it and destroy it. we tried a radio.... didnt cut it. certain shows keep his attention but not many.

Mom2f... Mom2fourlove

Oh shut up seriously. I spend 24/7 with my 3 under 3 never a baby sitter and do all the household chores myself. My kids can watch tv and I am in no way lazy.

Mom2f... Mom2fourlove

Oh shut up seriously. I spend 24/7 with my 3 under 3 never a baby sitter and do all the household chores myself. My kids can watch tv and I am in no way lazy.

Mom2f... Mom2fourlove

I do arts and crafts with my kids play with them all day who cares if they like tv too

worms... wormspoop

While I never used the TV as a baby sitter, I would put my son in front of the TV while cooking. His doctor told me that it actually helps his eyes learn to see the different colors. But I get the point, all TV and no social interaction can be a negative thing.

nonmember avatar loveyouall

My 2 year old watches sprout, can sing ABC, and counts to 4.. Loves paying still, I think it depends on what you let your kids watch. He's a very active child, my opinion I think people just look to blame something other then taken responsibility..Being active with my kids when I can, I have two toddlers so it's hard.. I have a strick schedule, so understand most parents can't be a home maker but it's about being creative when we can. Telling people how to parent their kids is what America is all about these days.

NatAndCo NatAndCo

My boys love the music and dancing of Happy Feet and i won't apologize for it

JSGM83 JSGM83

I do, but with me.  Its one thing we do together.  He loves to snuggle on my lap and watch Sesame Street.


I work full time and I know he gets 0 TV at both sitters so I don't worry too much about the 1/2 hour here or there he gets with me.  I think the whole TV thing is overblown, I agree you can use it too much but I don't agree that a child under 2 watching now and then will ruin them forever.

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