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stemnyjones's avatar

What do you think about letting newborns (3 months or younger) watch TV?

Asked by stemnyjones (3974points) December 11th, 2009

My 2 month old daughter is addicted to the TV. Every time she hears it, she turns her little head and searches for it. I don’t set her in front of it all day but, being a single mother, sometimes I need her to be distracted long enough for me to make her a bottle, make me food, answer the phone, etc. Do you think it’s unhealthy for her brain development or eyesight for her to be watching the TV this young?

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29 Answers

delirium's avatar

Yikes, no way. My parents didn’t let me watch TV until I was 8 and I can’t begin to say how grateful I am for it.

But I understand the distraction need, sometimes. Perhaps there is some kind of alternative.

kheredia's avatar

I heard it’s not healthy for infants to watch TV or any type of screen. I would do some research just to make sure you’re not causing some sort of long term damage. Why don’t you try music or one of those carousel things with the little animals. That will probably catch her attention too.

rangerr's avatar

Forget what other people say is wrong or right.
If you need to stick her in front of the TV for a few minutes so you can do something, then so be it.
No, I don’t have kids, but I have enough family members and babysitting jobs to know that “right vs. wrong” isn’t always the best argument to listen to constantly.

kheredia's avatar

You might want to read this.

rooeytoo's avatar

I think there are probably a lot of people out there whose parents occasionally used the telly as a babysitter who are leading relatively normal lives and are of normal or above normal intelligence.

I wouldn’t worry too much.

stemnyjones's avatar

@kheredia – Thanks for the link. I definitely want to do everything possible for my daughter to help her grow up happy and healthy. I just feel bad having her sit there and stare at nothing while I’m busy, but I suppose a lot of mothers with newborns that age leave them in their cribs, or the daycare centers don’t give the very much one-on-one time.

Any suggestions on other things I should use to distract her? I literally do not have any money to buy her any extra toys right now, and her crib was one of the recalled ones so I can’t leave her in there. I have a baby mirror that has flashing lights on it, but otherwise I don’t have anything else to keep her entertained while my hands are tied.

kheredia's avatar

here is something you might want to try. Colorful things and music usually helps.

stemnyjones's avatar

Thanks kheredia. Too bad I don’t have any balloons, but I can definitely get something bright to distract her with.

TexasDude's avatar

Children at that age are most cognitively stimulated by colors, motion, light, and sound, so you’d think that television would be good for them. This isn’t exactly true, as TV isn’t as immersive as real life auditory and visual stimulation is, so I would avoid it.

Merriment's avatar

Some video watching isn’t a bad thing but not the best thing for all the time.

I found that it was stimulating enough for my babies at that age to just sit in a bouncey chair in my vicinity while I went about my business.

I developed a habit of “talking” to them by talking to myself out loud and by “telling” them what I needed to do next. Or reading my correspondence out loud. They aren’t getting the content but they are hearing and learning the sounds.

Anyone else viewing us would have thought I was nutz but all that “talking” led to early verbal skills in my children.

A rule of thumb is don’t start any habit with them that you are going to be trying to fix later. And too much tv is almost always an issue eventually.

TexasDude's avatar

Definitely right, @Merriment, I was a bit harsh on tv. Like you suggested, moderation is key. Hell, I was raised on television and I turned out alright.

Haleth's avatar

There’s so much pressure for mothers to be perfect and to raise their kids in just the right way, and a lot of that is criticism from people who don’t even have kids themselves. Kids are a lot sturdier than we think. I was raised by a single mother, and looking back, my sister and I were like wild zoo animals half the time. It’s impossible to get anything done without distracting kids for a minute or two. Your daughter is probably just attracted to the movement and noise. My brother had this mobile that spun around and made lights and noises, so if you’re really worried maybe you can get her something like that. But I think TV in moderation is fine.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I think it’s one of those things that is fairly unavoidable at times. If the parents are watching TV and the infant is in the room then the chances are the infant is going to “watch” TV as well from time to time. I don’t have children myself so I can’t give advice from experience but I wouldn imagine that the majority of babies have been exposed to TV and are all doing fine. Providing it’s only for a few moments here and there I wouldn’t worry too much.

faye's avatar

I think tv, curtains, faces, the dog, plants, mobiles, music, are all of fleeting interest to a 2 month old. Unless a child is kept in a cage in a basement they’ll all grow up pretty much okay. [sans beatings and abuse]. 2 months old want warm milk, dry bottoms and loving arms around them. Common sense.

emotionaltwo's avatar

Dont let her watch tv it will ruin her imagination

eponymoushipster's avatar

Whatever happens, keep a hold of the remote. Once they get a hold of it, you’re screwed.

ubersiren's avatar

There’s no right or wrong here. Take 100 adults who watched 5 hours of tv every day as kids and 100 who have never watched a show in their lives, and chances are you couldn’t tell most of them apart. Just be sure to nurture her in other ways.

TV, just like most everything else in life is ok in moderation. If she likes to watch tv, let her maybe once before lunch and once in the evening. But don’t just stick her there. Kids thrive on variety, so give her lots of different activities to do. Especially outdoor fun. If you find she’s mesmerized by the tv and just fusses for it, take her outside. If it’s cold, take her to the mall and walk her around or something.

janbb's avatar

Wouldn’t do it.

casheroo's avatar

I think when it comes to the situation you describe, I can entirely related. Infants are impatient (well, toddlers and children are in general) and they cry and fuss while their food is being prepared. Sometimes it’s okay to let them fuss while you make the bottle, it’s not like you are letting her CIO for extended periods. If you really feel the need to distract her, you could put her in a bouncer, and let the music and toys entertain her. She may still fuss, but she’ll start to learn the routine of the bouncer before the bottle.

barbiedoll's avatar

When pregnant, I talked with my children the entire pg, and at times played touch games on my tummy.

At 2 months, my children saw the tv maybe an hour thru the day. The adults would turn it on for news, weather and an occasional show. We were really too busy to watch tv. What was interesting is that when the weather channel turned to local forecasts, the baby would instantly look at it: maybe the music and/or screen was different. Also Snuggle commercials.

I taught my children to read at 1½ with flashcards, they loved it and I felt like I was helping.

I was always taking them to parks, museums, McDonalds, etc. talking to them and listening for their input.

I was a single Mother so I had to work, and enrolled them in the University’s Progressive programs.

At 4 they could watch shows like Sesame Street while I made dinner.

Move ahead 6 years, they were in the gifted programs all through school.
Move ahead to college and they received 4 year full covered scholarships.

Now it is wait and see, kind of exciting.

stemnyjones's avatar

@casheroo I would love to put her in the bouncer with the noise and music… problem is, she can hold her head up most of the time, but sometimes it still falls forwards or backwards, and I don’t want her smashing her forehead against the front of the bouncer if she loses her balance. I might try her in it again today..

casheroo's avatar

@stemnyjones Your 3 month old can swing herself out of her bouncer? Are you strapping he in? How old is this bouncer?

stemnyjones's avatar

@casheroo I don’t mean she can swing herself out of her bouncer. I’m saying that she can’t hold herself up steadily yet, so she might fall over.

I guess I didn’t mention that she’s a pretty small baby, and the leg straps and seat area of the bouncer seem like it was designed for a baby much bigger than her. It was a hand-me-down, so it could have gotten worn that way as well.

casheroo's avatar

@stemnyjones Hm, do you know what a bouncer is? They lay in it. Here’s one for $25 from Target
seriously, they are a godsend. It’s the only way I could ever use the bathroom or get a shower. I’d put my son in it, and keep him in the bathroom with me, and he’d be sleeping or amused by whatever toys dangle from it.

stemnyjones's avatar

@casheroo Oh my. I was mistaken. Sorry, first time mom ;) What I have looks kind of like a walker, except there’s a platform for her to stand on with her feet, but the seat area holds her up so it’s okay that she can’t stand just yet.

I definitely need to get me one of those bouncers… and I like that it’s slightly elevated. My daughter has some kind of strange hate for laying flat on her back.

casheroo's avatar

@stemnyjones No problem :) You have whats called an “exersaucer” and yeah, 3 months is too young for that. I’d say the child would have to be at least 5 months old, with better neck control for an exersaucer. (my son began sitting up around 5 months, 6 months was when he was best at it.)

Merriment's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard Thanks, I was raised on it too….and the jury is still out how well I turned out :)

lonelydragon's avatar

I believe that young children should be exposed to as little television as possible. It’s healthier for them to be active, playing with age appropriate toys that foster motor skills and interacting with adults who can teach them to talk.

stormy's avatar

I didn’t let my kids watch tv until they were two or older. I have heard, but not too sure, that it can delay their speech. But then again there is so many dvds out now a days that are geared for infants…I say do whatever is easiest for you.

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