TV for Babies?

Category : Baby Health, Baby Klingler, My Life

I’ve been a little obsessed with the idea of cognitive development for my baby lately. I feel like that’s natural, especially since this is my first baby (and even more so considering I have an education background). So, naturally, I’ve been reading a lot about cognitive development from birth to  three months and three to six months and so on and so on.

I know it’s no secret that I want to get into a loose schedule with my baby – nothing concrete, just certain activities we incorporate into our every day routines along with free play and all that jazz. This is just as much for Leah as it is for me. A loose schedule is going to be important to me, as a SAHM, because once we get a routine established, I can begin to keep up with all those OTHER things that are important in every day life (read: SHAVING MY LEGS making dinner, doing laundry, etc). But the schedule is equally important to Leah because I’m really going to try to use this time I have with her to really work on cognitive development. Look, I get it. Babies will develop JUST FINE by doing normal every day stuff anyway…but why not come up with activities that are mentally stimulating for her? It can’t possible hurt right?

I’ve looked at some great suggestions and options from momma bloggers across the interwebs, and I’ve found that there are some things I want to try with Leah: active time (developing gross and fine motor skills), music and colors (playing soothing music and showing books/objects with bright/bold colors), language time (your baby can read type things), snuggle time/baby wearing time (there are SO many studies that show that baby wearing actually increasing the chances that your baby will be independent at an earlier age…that’s right folks…but more on that later) sensori-motor actvities, etc.

One big thing I’ve seen across the internet has been the use of things like Baby Einstein and Your Baby Can Read. Both are about 30 minutes of TV time each and they’re SO convenient because you can set your baby down, take a darn shower/throw in some laundry/get dinner in the oven, and know that they’re at least watching something that has some educational value. Right? Well, someone in one of my birth boards just posted a SLEW of articles showing how “detremental” tv is for children of all ages (especially under 2).

So my beef?

  • NONE of the studies actually talk about the types of tv shows that are being turned on for the babies in these studies. So who is to say the content is even appropriate for an infant, toddler, etc?
  • Most of the studies “backtrack” and state that they can’t actually definitively state that the negative affects are caused by the TV. In fact more point to the educational level of the mother/caregiver who is attempting to stimulate the child.
  • I’ve known people whose children watch well more than 30 minutes of tv per day and their children are incredibly bright. Which could mean a number of things (mom is only showing quality educational programming and it is in fact effective, mom is working hard with children making sure to teach them outside of the tv time, etc)
  • Your Baby Can Read is freakin’ cool. I’ve known lots of people who have used it and their children start speaking earlier, recognizing words sooner, and eventually they begin to write/spell earlier. I know, I know… that’s due to both the videos AND (more importantly) the parents being diligent and active in their child’s education…but still. Freakin’ cool.
I don’t know. I never really gave it that much thought until recently, and to be honest, I’m not sure that I buy that TV is necessarily positive or negative for children. What about you? Do your children watch tv? Did you use educational TV programming to squeeze in a shower each morning or to make dinner each night? What say ye? Sound off below.


Comments (2)

As an English teacher, please do not use Your Baby Can Read. It doesn’t teach them the phonetic nature of our language and instead teaches them to memorize sight words. They see the word “dot” and associate it with an actual “dot” BUT they can’t figure out why it’s pronounced that way or how if we add an “e” on the end how it becomes a totally new word with a different vowel sound. When kids get older, knowing the phonetic basis of why our letters sound the way they do is SO important when they run across words they don’t know. These kids don’t know how to “spell it out” when they’ve been taught this system. In reference to everything else, I think that tv is a bad thing when it’s misused – like if kids are sitting in front of it for most the day. I’ve had SAHM friends who sat their kids in front of the tv all day, and I know that can be tempting, but I want to make sure it’s more of a treat and/or survival skill (like when dinner needs to be made).

so I TOTALLY hear you, but when you start learning how to read, don’t you start with sight words? And I think language development is all about steps. When you’re first sitting down to read with your child at night, and she begins to take the book from you and proceeds to read the book word for word from memory I don’t consider that to be a bad thing. She doesn’t know why the letters are making what sounds at first but I think that can come a little later (especially if she’s figuring out words before she even gets to any formal school setting). Once your child begins to see lots of words that have similar sounds (hat, bat, cat, sat, etc) and she makes the cognitive connections between those words (hey mom, those words sound similar…why?) you can start to dissect the phonetics of it.

I don’t see YBCR being a useful tool to teach her to read starting once she’s already in school or old enough that she’s able to cognitively understand the idea of phonetics…but as an infant learning language development? I’ve read a lot of studies that show that exposing your infants to words AS you use them can help them immensely later in life with their reading and language abilities. So who knows.

I don’t know…either way I think if it’s between Your Baby Can Read and Spongebob? I’ll choose YBCR. I’ll let you know how she fares in 10 years LOL.

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