Since the American Academy of Pediatrics stands firmly for no television for babies under the age of two, should parents strictly adhere to this advice? What about babies and educational videos? Does that count as TV? Read on for more advice.
The AAP has the following position on babies watching television:
“Children of all ages are constantly learning new things. The first 2 years of life are especially important in the growth and development of your child’s brain. During this time, children need good, positive interaction with other children and adults. Too much television can negatively affect early brain development. This is especially true at younger ages, when learning to talk and play with others is so important. Until more research is done about the effects of TV on very young children, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend television for children age 2 or younger. For older children, the Academy recommends no more than 1 to 2 hours per day of educational, nonviolent programs. “
However the AAP has clearly ignored that there are a wide variety of educational videos available today that have been made specifically for babies. These videos teach babies wonderful things that parents often times cannot teach to their babies. For example, babies are able to watch videos that expose them to foreign languages, reading, and a variety of other topics.
These videos can be very beneficial to babies’ intellectual development in small doses. Certainly, I am not suggesting that babies should watch cartoons for endless hours, but having your baby watch TV in controlled amounts of quality programming, in my opinion, is not harmful to babies under two. After all, cartoons were not designed for small babies in the first place.
Many babies are attracted to television naturally. The television can become a powerful tool if parents use it correctly. A recent study states that by first grade children have viewed 5,000 hours of TV. Imagine if parents use television in their favor to teach their children all kinds of wonderful things about animals, language, history, and reading.
Television is best viewed by babies when an adult participates. This encourages dialogue between them and allows babies to gain more from the experience. However, parents that feel strongly against television viewing should do what is best for their families.
Keep in mind that as parents we do have times when we need to take a shower or prepare a meal. It is in situations like these that a 30-minute video may be your saving grace to get the job done.