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TV and babies

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TravelingGal

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New study out...

http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/03/03/babies.watch.TV/index.html

Looks like what''s being concluded is that it is not harmful, nor beneficial.

So, I''m curious, if you use TV for your little ones (under two years of age), do you think it makes them smarter? Or would you admit you simply use it as an electronic babysitter (because the babies enjoy it).
 

mia1181

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Date: 3/4/2009 11:49:58 PM
Author:TravelingGal
New study out...

http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/03/03/babies.watch.TV/index.html

Looks like what''s being concluded is that it is not harmful, nor beneficial.

So, I''m curious, if you use TV for your little ones (under two years of age), do you think it makes them smarter? Or would you admit you simply use it as an electronic babysitter (because the babies enjoy it).
Haven''t read the study, but I probably will agree with it.

Is TV in itself going to make your kid ADD, Autistic, Low Intelligence, Lazy, Overweight, etc, etc etc? Nope.
Is seeing words on a screen next to a picture going to make your baby an Einstein? Nope.

Okay so I hope I am allowed to answer as a nanny with no kids of my own.....

I am not a fan of *a lot* of TV for children under two. I just don''t really think it''s necessary all day, all the time. I do believe children zone out a bit when they are watching and I would rather have children engaged if possible. But every now and then isn''t going to hurt a child. I have used Baby Einstein to get a baby to hold still while I cut their nails or to distract them while I comb out tangles or give medicine. Sometimes mom''s have to use it take a shower and I think that is fine. Yes I suppose it can be abused, but a little bit every now and then is fine. As long as all the other aspects of the child''s life are healthy and normal I think the TV is going to have little effect on the child''s development.

But I do want to try and make it as long as possible without using the tv with my own children. I think I am up to the task because as a nanny I am not really "allowed" to use tv anyway. But who knows, DH and I love to watch movies , so I''m sure we will want to enjoy them with our children.

I definitely don''t think a video can make a baby smarter than if the parent worked on the same thing in person. Sure if you keep showing a kid a letter B and say "Bee" they will eventually recognize the letter, but parents can do the same thing with their children by pointing out letters and naming them.
 

luvmyhalo

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My daughter just turned 2 in January and I will admit I have used TV as a babysitter when I'm trying to get dinner ready or complete some kind of task. My husband travels quite a bit so sometimes that 30 minute break keeps me sane


This DVD is fabulous in helping to learn letters and their sounds.....
http://www.target.com/dp/B0000INU6S/sr=1-5/qid=1236230803/ref=sr_1_5/179-6572110-0382442?ie=UTF8&frombrowse=0&index=target&rh=k%3Aletter%20factory&page=1


She's been obsessed with letters ever since we got her these books at about 13 months old...

http://www.babyeinstein.com/en/products/product_explorer/theme/language/0786819073/Alphabooks.html

By using the dvd AND reading the Alphabooks, by 18 months old she knew all her letters and the sound that each one makes.

I don't think a child can soley rely on TV to learn but sometimes it can help enforce what parents teach. Would she have learned the alphabet without the dvd? Probably! She IS a genius just like her Momma!
 

TravelingGal

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Well, this is what I think....

I would like to use videos to get ideas of WHAT I might want to "teach" my kid. Some days, I just honestly have no idea. I don''t buy a lot of toys so my kid sees the same thing every day. Maybe I can get creative ideas from the videos and do some stuff myself.

I don''t think there''s any harm in using it when mom needs a break. Like mia, I have turned on the TV for a few minutes when I need her to sit still (most recently, I had to cut her bangs just a whee bit and I used mini scissors.) I don''t even need to turn on baby stuff. Just the motion gets her attention. She fixates on the TV, which is part of the reason I don''t let her watch it.

My friend (whom I love and is a great mom) let her kid watch TV a fair bit before he turned two. He''s a bright, sweet kid (nearly 5 now). She admitted she used it as a babysitter and not because she thought it made him smarter, which at the time I thought was an interesting admission.

One thing I think videos would be great for is music. I don''t play enough for my kid. I sing to her all the time, but that could be ruining her for life.


She is turning one next month and we''ve pretty much (minus the few times TGuy watches sports in front of her) made it through TV free. My goal is no TV until after 2 years. The first year was easy. My feeling is the second year will not be nearly as easy.
 

puffy

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i am not going to lie, when i initially let B watch tv, it was because i had to get stuff done and couldn''t chase him around at the same time.
BUT then i realized that he was actually learning from it. he watched baby einstein a lot and he uses a lot of what he learns. i know he has learned airplane, bus, boat, baby, and car from it, probably others, but all that i can remember now.
and it''s not like all he''s doing is memorizing things. when he sees these things in real life, he will tell me, "mommy, baby, or car," etc.
he also learned a lot of sign language from it. he knew some signs before, but he learned a lot more from it because some of the signs he does, i don''t know what it is until i watch the video with him.
so now i let him watch it to learn, and because i need to get stuff done and that is the only way he will sit still. i don''t let him watch tv all the time, but if he brings me the dvd case, i will put it in for him. that''s not to say that he is watching the entire time it is on. he might actually only be watching for a few minutes and go do something and come back to watch more.
being a SAHM, i think it is important sometimes to do what you have to do to keep your sanity, even if that means letting your child watch tv for a few minutes a day.
 

elrohwen

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I don't have kids, so I can't comment on what I've done. However, I do remember the time when my neighbor was little (maybe 3) and I was watching Blue's Clues with him while babysitting. The show tries to be very interactive and the host was asking all sorts of questions. I was trying to get the little guy engaged, but he just sat and stared at the screen no matter what I did. After that experience, I kind of figured that little kids don't really understand what they're watching, they just like watching the images and colors more than anything else. It's like how a dog or other animal will stare at the tv because it's bright and makes sounds; they don't really know what they're seeing. For that reason, I've never really believed in those DVDs that are supposed to teach things to very young children because I don't think the kids are processing the things they're seeing in the same way they would process something in real life. Of course, I am absolutely not an expert ... but it seems like this study is agreeing with what I've seen.

ETA: I wanted to agree with Mia that I don't think there's anything wrong with using it as a babysitter if you really need to get something done or take a break. I just think it's not going to make them any smarter if they watch Baby Einstein vs cartoons or something because they're zoning out, more or less.

ETA2: Puffy, I find it fascinating that your son has picked up so much just from watching. Blows my half-a**ed theory out of the water
 

janinegirly

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This is a variation of the topic, but I often have the TV on in my room while I feed my baby (5months old now) and put her to sleep. It''s on very low and just my way of catching up on news (ok, and some junk!) while she is dozing off (not really awake, not really asleep). Sometimes she''ll gaze at the TV, obviously it''s all the lights and faces. But I wonder if I''m starting a bad habit and should not have the TV on period...until she is completely asleep.
 

Burk

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We really only do TV for nebulizer treatments (DVRed "Yo Gabba Gabba"). It holds T''s attention while she has to sit still with a mask on. She interacts with the show-when they dance she dances in my lap, ect. She really seems to enjoy it. I doubt she''s really learning much, but I do think it reinforces some of the things I''m trying to teach her.
 

mia1181

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Date: 3/5/2009 11:21:00 AM
Author: janinegirly
This is a variation of the topic, but I often have the TV on in my room while I feed my baby (5months old now) and put her to sleep. It''s on very low and just my way of catching up on news (ok, and some junk!) while she is dozing off (not really awake, not really asleep). Sometimes she''ll gaze at the TV, obviously it''s all the lights and faces. But I wonder if I''m starting a bad habit and should not have the TV on period...until she is completely asleep.
Janinegirly- My boss had a tv set up in the my youngest charge''s nursery when I started (OMG 3 Years ago and she was 2 months old- time flies!). And honestly, I loved it! It was so nice for me to have something to watch while I fed her. My charge would gaze at the tv sometimes too, but never developed any habits. She really wasn''t interested in TV much until after two, and it was on all the time for her older sister with special needs. I think you''ll be fine. There will be plenty of time to do away with the tv. And as soon as she becomes more aware of what she is seeing,you won''t want her watching adult tv or the news anyway.

On a side note- If you think the TV is somehow helping her to sleep, then yes it would be better for her to learn to fall asleep with out any "aids, but I don''t think that is what is happening. It''s probably the food that is making her sleepy. It sounds like you are getting her to the dozing off phase and then putting her in her crib and that is perfect!
 

Miranda

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I have used the TV almost exclusively as a babysitter in my (almost) 15 years of parenting. Especially in those early years when all you want is a shower without a wee body (or two) begging to come in with you, rubbing slobber or snot on the shower door, or, at the very least, just starring at you!
Of course, what they were watching was *educational* and was in 30 minute intervals. When my boys were little they were allowed 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the afternoon. When DD was little she was never interested in TV. She was busy walking around getting into things!


No, I don''t think TV makes kids smarter. They may learn to parrot what they see such as letters or shapes. But, is that really smarter? My nephew could tell you the name of every letter by the time he was 2. He watched A LOT of Letter Factory. Now, at 6, he is no more advanced than any other kid in his class...Just more obnoxious because he''s been told since he was 2 that he was smarter than everyone else.
I think TV can support learning that goes on at home or school through educational videos. But, smarter? I guess it depends on your definition of smart.
 

mia1181

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T-gal- I think you have the right idea with TV. You can definitely use it as a "lesson reinforcer" and I do all the time. The fact is most children just stare at the television. While it definitely is a zone-out state they are in, they can pick up things if either they are naturally interested in something or if you point things out to them. That is why it is good to sit next to the child and focus their attention on whatever it is that you want them to learn about. It's really just like books. You can read them "Green Eggs and Ham" straight through, and they will enjoy the rhythm and maybe even notice things on their own. But if you ask questions or comment on things throughout the book you can really teach them by saying things like "Oh, he doesn't think he likes it because he's never tried it before" "Do you think he'll try it?" "Oh aren't you so glad he tried it because now he knows it's really tasty!" "Can you imagine if he never tried it?" You can do the same thing with a video.

Oh and I agree about the musical aspect of videos, so true. Nowadays a lot of kids shows are very well produced and the songs are really catchy. I really like the show "the Backyardigans" because it is so musical in an educational way. It's not just fun songs, they explore different genres and relate different moods to music. I am a big lover of music so that is one thing I like for children to get from a video if possible.

My 3 y.o. charge has been exposed to much tv from birth because her parents use it a lot for her older sister with special needs, (not only does it help with behavior, but she doesn't walk/talk and has very few joys in life). Anyway it's interesting how P (the 3 y.o.) hasn't been at all interested in TV until now. Now that she is more aware, she watches it and asks questions/makes comments "why is she sad?" "oh he's funny!" I sit next to her a lot and explain the storyline, but even at her age I still don't think she is getting much from it. She mostly repeats my explanations back to me when we watch the same movie twice. But every now and then it is a good conversation starter.

Oh and another twist to this question.... Does anyone use you-tube with small children (I guess the 3 and up crowd?). My charge loves to sit on my lap and watch cute animal videos or funny baby videos.
 

curlygirl

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We generally have it on for background noise but my spirited almost 2 year old can barely sit still to watch anything for too long so I don''t really think about it. She does ask for one show all the time: Jack''s Big Music Show on Noggin. We have DVR''d all the episodes so we can play them when necessary because it''s pretty harmless, the tunes are catchy (I find myself singing them all day long!) and honestly, we love to watch her dance!! She also loves Sesame Street and especially Elmo but never really sits still long enough to get too obsessed.

mia, we have shown her Elmo and Abby videos on You Tube and she loves it! But she also has an unbelievable attraction to President Obama and asks for him by name as well so we often find his speeches online and let her watch those too!!
 

elrohwen

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Date: 3/5/2009 1:16:12 PM
Author: curlygirl
We generally have it on for background noise but my spirited almost 2 year old can barely sit still to watch anything for too long so I don''t really think about it. She does ask for one show all the time: Jack''s Big Music Show on Noggin. We have DVR''d all the episodes so we can play them when necessary because it''s pretty harmless, the tunes are catchy (I find myself singing them all day long!) and honestly, we love to watch her dance!! She also loves Sesame Street and especially Elmo but never really sits still long enough to get too obsessed.

mia, we have shown her Elmo and Abby videos on You Tube and she loves it! But she also has an unbelievable attraction to President Obama and asks for him by name as well so we often find his speeches online and let her watch those too!!
LMAO! Your daughter is awesome
 

vespergirl

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I do happen to think that shows like Sesame Street are very educational. After watching, my son can identify the number & letter of the day, and he''s 2. He''s learned his numbers to 20 and much of the alphabet from Sesame Street.

However, there are many other fun shows, like Yo Gabba Gabba, that are not really educational, but get him to sing and dance, and he really enjoys dancing with the shows.

So, I agree that TV is definitely not negative for kids, and can be educational, but it really depends on the program. To date, Sesame Street is the only one that I find truly educational.
 

Pandora II

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I''m not sure on the TV one - since I''ve been at home on the world''s longest pre-maternity leave I''ve caught quite a lot of the UK kid''s TV and it''s pretty bad. I did a bit of research and it seems that it is geared more to keeping their attention than actually being educational.

I was brought up in a country where there was no TV and didn''t even know it existed until I was 10. My parents bought one when we got back to the UK, but we had to look up what we wanted to watch in advance and it was 2 hours max a day (there were only 3 channels back then as well).

My sister and I did a lot more drawing, painting and making stuff than my youngest sister (13 years younger than me) who watched a lot of TV because my mother was too tired to argue by that point!

I''m planning to restrict as much as I can - DH thinks that I''m very mean for wanting to do that....
 

AGSHF

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Hi all,

I''m the mother of a 12-year-old child. I was a SAHM from day one of my daughter''s life and, during the first year, there was precious little time during her wakeful hours for TV watching. They were largely taken up with "playing" with her -- i.e., singing to her, talking to her, waving things in front of her, you get the picture. And, the running of a few errands because her naps were not to be interfered with.

From year 1-1/2 to 2, I found that she just froze in front of the TV anytime there was a children''s show or commercial on (strange phenomenon), so I limited TV to 1/2 hour and, back then, Blue''s Clues and Bear in the Big Blue House were big hits in our house. I watched with her most days, or at least would talk to her about it, so that I "engaged" her. When I really needed her to "stay put," I sometimes used classic Sesame Street tapes (all now available on DVD) about letters, numbers, etc. She loved those and they did help her learn how to recite the alphabet and count. But, I never relied on TV to "teach" her anything. There were always books, puzzles, magnetic letters, those types of things. TV was always a supplemental entertainment-type thing and I was glad that the shows, often times, helped me figure out how to entertain a toddler. I was an older first-time mother and had absolutely no prior experience with small children.

I always watched or previewed with her before I let her watch by herself. There is a great deal of junk masquerading as educational TV. And the commercials are often atrocious.

Good "educational" TV was a god-send on days when I had phonecalls to make, had to deal with a repairman, whenever I just needed her to stay put in one place for a short period of time.

I''m not familiar with what''s out there now, but many of the older classics are all available on DVDs, or you can DVR them.

I just didn''t assume that my child is learning anything through the exclusive use of TV, any more than I expect to master world history by watching the History Channel.

These were some of our favorites: Blue''s Clues, Sesame Street, Madeline.

When she was older, had started preschool and was reading by age 3-1/2, I thought the "Between the Lions" series on PBS was an excellent show. It reinforced letter sounds and featured many of the wonderful books she and I had read or were reading at the time.

Happy viewing!
 

MichelleCarmen

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Like Miranda, I used shows, like Baby Einstein, as a means of providing a "babysitter" while I took a shower. Often my younger son would spend at least half that time crying!

I never relied upon TV to teach my kids any learning skills. I did all of that myself.
 
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