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What is up with this? ( kids watching tv)

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Is it "normal" among "mainstream" parents to sit infants in front of the tv? I have veard that they see it as educational and appropriately stimulating. I am not understanding this.

post #2 of 29
I don't know if it is normal, but I think it started with those videos that were made for infants. A couple people told me how "great" those videos were because the babies were so fascinated by them.: How about holding and talking or singing to your baby, or just letting them watch what you are doing, they will be just as fascinated by that. I do think that most mainstream parents let their toddlers watch tv because they think that they are learning numbers, alphabet etc., even though the mainstream peds recommend that children under two don't watch tv.
post #3 of 29

TV/Videos are the "In" thing right now. My sister has every Baby Einstien video (actually DVD) available. Her one-year-old daughter has been watching them since she was about 3 months old. I think she spends at least an hour a day watching them. My sister thinks their wonderful. I get all this pressure from my sister and my parents to let my DS watch them too. I tried a few times and he has no interest (can't complain about that!). I do put the TV on for him here and there (like to distract him from a diaper change) but I think it is sad that these parents are letting their babies watch so much TV.

At my Gymboree class, we have these parent topics. One topic was "What are some fun things you do with your baby". I eagerly anticipated getting fun things to do with DS. But almost every parent there named The Einstein videos as their fun activity. Oh, and one mom mentioned flashcards. I loved the looks on the parent's faces when I said "Well, I tickle Jack and we play peekaboo."

post #4 of 29
we use the tv while i clip dd's nails. thats it. it works great btw. i'll have to remember it for diaper changes.
post #5 of 29
i don't feel great about letting dd 14 mo watch elmo videos, but i get to read the paper and have some coffee in the morning. she loves them, but you won't hear me saying i think they are educational or anything like that. she never watched that stuff till she was 7-8 mo and i never actually let her just sit there and watch a whole tape till about 2 months ago. i always held her and talked to her/read to her. we do lots of great stuff together. i just need a little coffee break first thing, and coffee is hot, i'd rather she not be hovering.
i would not recommend these videos to anyone, nor would i stick her infront of the tv for hours at a time, nor would i believe that i was doing her any favors by letting her watch these tapes. but i am only human!
post #6 of 29
i let my son watch seseame street when he started talking and talking and talking, the getting a break issue is so important, he was "spirited" so i held him all the time and he bf just about every 30 mins,( was 20 lbs by 4 months!)

i know that it acually did do him some good as he was realy to learn letters and numbers and so on, but we kept it at about a half hour a day. my daily little break

but i wouldnt recommend it as the thing to do. those einstien vidoes are just rediculous imo. your infant will learn much more from you just talking to him, your face and voice is the best and most stimulating experience he can get at that age
post #7 of 29
Umm..I let DD watch SS or a video sometimes, usually when I am about to "lose it" and just REALLY need her to not need me for a few minutes. It may not be the perfect AP thing to do, but I am doing my best at these times. I am human too.

In defense of the einstein videos...well she has two and she really likes them. One is just animals and music, she really likes the footage of kittens and puppies playing, ducks swimming, etc. I don't see anything THAT bad with the content. To me it is more the issue of letting her watch TV in general. No, I don't think of them as educational, but they do entertain her briefly. I think used occasionally in a conscientious way they are pretty harmless, the problem is when they become "the babysitter".

BTW all videos we have were gifts (even though we have said we have *plenty* already)
post #8 of 29
You can ask anyone who knows me and they'll tell you that I'm basically anti TV. We don't have cable and we own one TV which is often in the corner unplugged. However, I LOVE the Baby Einstein videos. I bought them with baby #2 and haven't looked back. I also have almost all of the books that go with them. We also have the CD's that play the music from them. I wouldn't say that I sit my kids in front of the TV at 6 mon to watch them for an hour but I will say that when they want to watch TV I'd rather have them watching those and then follow up with the books and the CD's then have them watching alot of other crap that's on. I tried to cut TV out altogether but felt it was too limiting. There are some educational things on TV. We definately do a lot of reading, talking, holding and singing too. In fact, I often sit and watch the videos with them. That way we can learn together.

Just my 2 cents!
post #9 of 29


im sorry i didnt mean to offend neone who likes and uses the einstien vidoes, no excuse but i really shouldnt post when ive just woken up :

i guess my real beef with educational vidoes for infants is just tryiin to compensate for the intense publicity all that stuff if getting, as if this is the "new way" to parent and if your not on it your diservicing your child and hes gonna be behind all the "smart" babies

as a short break i think alot of shows can work but as an education tool, hands on is my preferred choice, i.e books mags, blocks, road signs, shapes are everywhere!
post #10 of 29
I, for one, wasn't offended at all! I don't know if you were talking about me but I wasn't offended! I was just stating my case! I agree, hands on is definately the best! You can't substitute a video for real life and hands on!
post #11 of 29
I try to limit TV as much as possible. My ds has seen the weather channel a few times so I can figure out how to dress him, and I let him watch a few minutes of family videos. I think my biggest fear is that he will like TV too much, and that it would be tempting to let him watch it while I do chores or something. I doubt that I would, but I'd rather not risk it. I'd much rather interact with him.

That said, I'd much rather someone turn on the TV for a few minutes than lose it with my ds. My mom babysat him while I went to a doctor appointment, and he was pretty upset toward the end. She turned on cartoons to calm him down. Not my first choice, of course, but certainly better than getting to a point where she lost control. As for videos, I think they're better than TV because you can avoid some of the marketing in commericals.

We got an Einstein video as a gift. The one we got was terribly boring. I do think exposing your children to all types of music is a plus. Watching it, though, isn't as exciting as playing some offbeat song on the stereo and teaching baby a new dance, imho. He loves being surprised by my music choices and dances.
post #12 of 29
i guess my real beef with educational vidoes for infants is just tryiin to compensate for the intense publicity all that stuff if getting, as if this is the "new way" to parent and if your not on it your diservicing your child and hes gonna be behind all the "smart" babies
This reminded me of something funny & sad FIL said (he is getting a bonus baby this summer...been 30 years since his next youngest was born (DH) : ) We said something about how DD loves to read books all the time, how sometimes after reading like 20 or 30 in a row it gets tiring...he said "oh they got these books nowadays...you don't even have to read them, the kid presses a button and it reads the book aloud to them...". Dh says "Dad, you are in for some big surprises if you think your kid is gonna like that better than you reading to them". I don't think FIL is anti AP or anything, or that he wouldn't want to read his kid a book, he's just mainstrream, and mainstream people sometimes see these things as a parent conveinience more than a toy for the child. But I think DH is right...he is in for some surprises...

BTW I wasn't offended either. Everyone is entitled to their opinions IMO

post #13 of 29
We use the TV as a babysitter here pretty regularly. It's the only way I get to shower, and helps with pre-dinner time, too. As long as what they're watching is something I've seen and approve of, that's okay.

The original Baby Einstein is okay with me. DS#1 loved it and was able to recite the alphabets of six languages at 24 months because of it. Not too shabby.

The music ones were worthless. Listening to someone play little Mozart-esque ditties on their electric piano is not my idea of expanding brain power or music appreciation. And the visuals that went with those actually spooked DS, so we never tried it after the first attempt.

We have cut back on actual TV (versus videotapes) though, since 9/11 (DS was watching a kids show that was pre-empted when the first plane hit and ... well, never mind).

- Amy
post #14 of 29
whats so baffeling to me is my young friends (19-21) i'm 21....who rave about their 2 month olds who love the TV. I guess my 18 month old is an odd apple (luckily) because she wont have anything to do with tv unless i am watching and there is a doggy or kitty on. I cant imagin a child under two sitting down for TV for longer then 5 minutes. I personally watch TV too much so i am blessed that she doesnt like it or i would have to just keep it off and i am sure i will have to change my bad habbit once she gets interested in it. maybe i should just start not watching it now. i only have 2 channels anyway.

its definately a trend that mother rave over...instead of my baby is smiling its....my baby is so into TV! weird.

post #15 of 29
I don't have a problem with parents using the TV to get some personal time during the day. What bugs me is the extent to which we are sold the idea that our kids will be losing out if we aren't plunking them down in front of Baby Einstein (or whatever) for an hour a day.

TV is mental junk food, IMO. A little isn't going to hurt anyone, total deprivation sometimes just makes the kids want to binge when they're out from under your thumb, but you certainly shouldn't feel like you're HURTING your kids if you don't give them any, especially when they're young enough not to know what they're missing!

(We do own a TV. 20-month-old dd takes no interest in it. It might help if I ever turned on children's programming, but we don't get PBS very well for some reason. I did pick up a Sesame Street video once, but I haven't had the heart to open it. I just stick her in the bath with me while I shower, and I either encourage her to sit at the dining room table and color while I'm starting dinner, or I wait until dh gets home.)
post #16 of 29
Okay I must be evil or something - DD and I are in front of the TV most of the day right now. BUT we first watch TLC for their childrens programming before Baby Story then we watch the baby story - we are expecting on Christmas day and I want her to be familiar with the sounds of labor and a new baby. We also sit in front of PBS for quite a while. We watch together and I point out things to her. I sit and watch WITH her, she doesnt' jsut sit in front of the tube and stare. I do have to say that up until we started watching PBS etc she wasnt' really trying to form many words, now she is her vocabulary has gone from mom-mom to about 20 discernable words. We will usually read a book together after we ahve watched something and try to correlate what we have watched to what book we choose (okay I do that part) but for us it has been a great educational tool.

We would spend more time outside but right now we have a heat index of about 98 degrees durign the day here and I jst cannot take that heat - even in the pool it is too much for me right now. DH usually takes her out exploring in the early evening when it starts to cool down. He puts her int he wagon or on the back of his bike and they go for their nightly walk or ride.

Yes, I feel guilty but frankly - I'm fat (no I'm not putting myself down I jsut know I'm not skinny) , pregnant and jsut getting over the m/s and exhaustion so the TV as a teaching tool is what works for us right now, when it cools down a bit and I'm not so tired taht might change considerably.
post #17 of 29
Thread Starter 
Originally posted by Naomi
TV is mental junk food, IMO. A little isn't going to hurt anyone, total deprivation sometimes just makes the kids want to binge when they're out from under your thumb, but you certainly shouldn't feel like you're HURTING your kids if you don't give them any, especially when they're young enough not to know what they're missing!
You see, that was exactly what I was wondering about with this question. How some parents see tv as essential to their child being raised well. I don't own a tv but for those that do, I understand letting kids watch it, using it to get a few free minutes to do something. Mam's who have a tv probably "lose it" with their kids less because they have somethig that the kids want to do that keeps them from "nagging". I just don't understand how someone would see my kids as not growing up as "well" since they don't have the benefit of tv.

post #18 of 29
Here are a couple of interesting links from the AAP on TV viewing.


post #19 of 29
Kinda OT, but not really...

A recommended book that goes along with the info in jasnjakesmama's links:

Magic Trees of the Mind: How to Nurture Your Child's Intelligence, Creativity, and Healthy Emothions from Birth Through Adolescence
by Marian Diamond, Ph.D. and Janet Hopson

Kinda dense...very technical and a somewhat difficult read, but worth it. Marian Diamond is a reserch scientist working on how the brain develops and how physical and sensory stimulation assist the sprouting and branching of neurons (magic trees). It even has illustrations of how develped those branches are based upon the type and amount of stimulation.

It discusses ways to help those "magic trees" develop at every stage from conception through adolescence. Very good book.

Oh...as for TV & videos, my 10 mo dd isn't much interested except for a few min of Teletubbies. For some reason, they really get her attention. My MIL turned it on for her one day when she was babysitting for me & told me how my dd squealed and giggled and "talked" to the characters. So, on occassion, I turn it on for her.

My 17 yo dd didn't watch anything until she was about 18 mo and then it was Sesame Street, Reading Rainbow & Zoobliezoo. There was another show with 3 musicians that I can't remember the name of ....the Elephant Show, maybe? She really liked that one, too. But we limited the amount of TV time, dependent upon age. 30 min at 18 mo, 1 hr at 2 yrs, etc. She always had a max of 1 1/2 hrs throughout childhood, mostly PBS shows or videos from those shows. She did occassionally watch the reruns of The Muppet Show & loved the Muppet movies when she was older.
post #20 of 29
I cancelled cable TV two months ago when ds was one year. And if you don't have cable, it's almost impossible to watch anything else here (because of the satellite), so we are free! and we are so happy! When ds is older, I can consider renting some videos for us to watch together.
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