The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has finally officially come to a conclusion on TV for tots – subjecting babies under the age of two to television is about as good as putting them in front of a glowing box. The AAP has warned parents for years, but in a study that has spanned the last decade, they’ve concluded that babies are not able to process television until age 2. Instead, the boob tube distracts babies from development-building playtime and also from quality time with their parents.
Many of our generation was parked in front of the TV by our mothers, as a quick fix babysitter. But it wasn’t until years later in 1999, that the AAP began researching the effects of TV. Although many TV shows, like the beloved Sesame Street, are educational for children, they are virtually lost on babies. The studies found that children under two see TV, videos, and now iPads and computers, as nothing more than mesmerizing glowing objects. Kids aren’t learning their ABC’s or 123’s from watching television, and prolonged exposure to TV can hinder basic developmental skills.
Many parents use television as a temporary distraction when they’re busy making dinner or trying to keep a tot happy on-the-go. Giving up TV for your tot doesn’t mean you have to be super parents, constantly entertaining or reading to your baby though. Instead of TV, the AAP suggests simply giving your baby some alone playtime. With toys and blocks, toddlers can learn invaluable problem solving, and learn to entertain themselves. TV puts a block on developing a child’s imagination, but independent playtime or even quiet time is extremely beneficial in your child’s development.
Instead of facing your baby toward the TV while you prepare dinner tonight, put on some music and break out the toys, and enjoy your time alone together.
Lead image © Mattborg