Childrearing

Anonymous Mom: I Let My 3-Month-Old Watch TV

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babywatchingtvAnonymous Mom is a weekly column of motherhood confessions, indiscretions, and parental shortcomings selected by Mommyish editors. Under this unanimous byline, readers can share their own stories, secrets, and moments of weakness with complete anonymity.

I’ll come right out and say it: I’ve always loved TV, and I’ve never been ashamed of it. Sitcoms, dramas, procedurals, reality shows, reruns… I don’t discriminate. When people brag about how they don’t have cable or don’t even own a TV, I feel nothing but pity for them. Yes, it’s great to read books and play games and go on walks and cook dinner and have, you know, conversations — but it’s also pretty awesome to come home after a rough day at the office and watch Monday Night Football.

In short, TV and I were already good friends before my son was born last June. After we brought our baby boy home from the hospital, though, the magic talk-box took on a whole new level of importance in our lives.

During that first crazy week, when we weren’t desperately trying to figure out how to take care of our squalling little bundle, we treated ourselves to DVDs of “Dexter” and “Homeland.” In between naps, pumping, and constant diaper changes, it was a pleasant reminder that outside our walls, a very different and very adult world still turned.

My son was a preemie, and so he spent a lot of daylight hours sleeping in those early weeks — even more so than many other newborns. For the most part, he’d only wake up to eat every two or three hours (and even then, he quickly found his “autopilot sleep-feeding” mode).

Overnight, though, his eyes would pop wide open after a feeding, and he’d start fussing immediately after he was put down in his bassinet. Our adorable son had his days and nights mixed up. To help reset his tiny internal clock, both Dr. Google and my actual pediatrician (in no particular order) suggested that I make a concerted effort to differentiate daytime from nighttime. During the day, that meant lots of lights on and all of the usual noises — including the TV. As soon as we got up in the morning, the TV went on, and it stayed on until it was time to start winding down for bed. Doctor’s orders!

So there we sat, the two of us, every day — “us,” meaning me and my TV — and I felt personally blessed by MTV’s decision to rerun “Laguna Beach” and “The Hills” in their entirety. As my beautiful little buddy napped on my chest, I rededicated myself to #TeamLC, and I wondered if I, like Brody Jenner, might one day forge a career built entirely around being a reality-show remora.

Eventually, the day/night reprogramming paid off. Around the same time, like a switch flipping on, our sleepy little guy turned into an impressively robust baby. In short order, he grew out of his preemie gear, and then out of his newborn onesies — and soon, he was sporting three-month sleepers as I put him down in his bassinet at the very reasonable hour of 10:30 p.m. (You know… on a good day.) Meanwhile, during the day, he was starting to respond to stimuli, and trying to interact with the world around him.

We first noticed him looking at the TV shortly before my 12-week maternity leave was over. It was dinnertime for us grown-ups, so my husband placed Junior in his motorized swing and turned on the overhead mobile to keep him occupied. After watching the birdies circle his head for several minutes, my son casually turned his head… and caught the TV winking back at him. The bright colors and moving shapes held his gaze as we finished our baked potatoes. At the time, it was a hilarious novelty — “Look, he loves “Top Chef”!” we giggled.

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116 Comments

  1. Hibbie

    October 3, 2013 at 11:08 am

    “One night, however, he watched a whole episode of ‘Breaking Bad.’ (I
    know, I know. That’s why I’m writing this anonymously, OK?).”

    The kid’s got good taste!

    When my daughter was 6 months and under and would have trouble sleeping or was teething, one of the only things to calm her was watching Band of Brothers. She was all about it. Do I feel bad about it? No. Did it scar her for life? No.

    If ALL a kid is doing is watching TV, clearly it is a problem. I don’t see the big deal if TV is part of a day that also includes learning and playing outside.

    • Andrea

      October 3, 2013 at 12:11 pm

      My husband I were catching up with breaking bad this summer, so my three month old saw many an episode. I am not worried.

    • historychick79

      October 4, 2013 at 3:40 pm

      At least it wasn’t True Blood. Because Satan and stuff….

  2. CBillard

    October 3, 2013 at 11:31 am

    When my kid was that age he was “watching” football with us on Sundays. He was completely blown away by the colors and movement. Now, at 14 months, we occasionally have him watch Sesame Street. We watched multiple episodes when he had a nasty ear infection a couple weeks ago. And you know what, he’ll still turn out okay. Both my husband and I grew up in households that watched decent amounts of TV. We’re both college grads, I have two master’s degrees and he’s really successful at his job. On the grand scale of things, it’s not something that I have the time to completely freak out about.

    • Rachelle

      October 3, 2013 at 11:38 am

      My baby girl is a huge HUGE hockey fan (which is really good because everyone knows Montreal’s biggest religion is the Church of the Habs)! She loves watching the guys go back and forth really, really fast.

    • Andy

      October 3, 2013 at 3:19 pm

      Our daughter is a hockey fan as well-hubby grew up in Pittsburgh, so we’re Penguins fans, not to mention living in Chicago for nine years made us love the Blackhawks. This makes us an anomaly in Houston, but our three year old loves watching ‘the guys’, and I’m sure our newborn son will grow to love it as well.

    • Rachelle

      October 3, 2013 at 3:42 pm

      Ah, you’re like my frenemy for life.

    • Katherine Handcock

      October 4, 2013 at 9:46 am

      I have a great picture of my son at about 5 months propped up on the couch next to his dad, watching the playoffs πŸ™‚

    • keelhaulrose

      October 3, 2013 at 2:12 pm

      My five year old grew up watching the Bears with me. She can make the starters and their positions, and holds her own in our family Pigskin Pick’em league (her motto: Never bet on the Jags). This occasionally means she stays up late for a night game, which I let her do now because she’s in afternoon kindergarten and can sleep in, but we’ll probably cut that out.
      My father’s favorite sports moment with her was just a couple months ago after the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup and she started jumping around and singing the goal song.

  3. Tinyfaeri

    October 3, 2013 at 11:37 am

    The thing I find the most shocking about this: you have cable, but you don’t have DVR?

  4. Rachelle

    October 3, 2013 at 11:37 am

    I’m a huge proponent for “Give Me A Fucking Break” about this TV thing. When I was a kid, my mom was a SAHM and the TV was always on – Days of our Lives was a staple after lunch, I remember many childhood shows and I’m pretty sure she had it on as a companion when she was alone with me as a newborn and infant. Yes, I LOVE television today, stories of all kinds, and I adore and devour books. My language skills, two languages, are considered advanced.

    So, even if it’s the exception, TV did NOT screw me up. So I’m running with it.

    And my daughter gets some TV time at her young age (and has since she was a young infant). She also has a lot of curiosity and patience for books and music and toys and other human beings, too. I think she’ll be a-okay. (She does however go to daycare now and they only turn the TV on for special occasions.)

    • Bethany Ramos

      October 3, 2013 at 11:50 am

      I couldn’t agree more. Obviously, if TV is supporting unhealthy habits, like gaining weight, etc., then give it a closer look. TV was always restricted in my house when I was growing up, and I personally think that my secret Simpsons watching is responsible for my wit (ha!).

      Whenever my son has been sick, starting at one-year-old, we binge-watched Sesame Street together (which has so many freaking amazing celebrities BTW!). This is one issue I could care less about. My son’s first pediatrician told us no screen time until 5 years old. Um….

    • Rachelle

      October 3, 2013 at 12:43 pm

      That’s it! It’s just like everything in life: moderation. She gets fresh air, activity, one on one silent time where the TV is in the same room but it’s off… If it’s all TV all day, of course it’s a problem. But if you understand that there’s weight in balance, then you’re ahead of the curve.

    • jendra_berri

      October 3, 2013 at 2:13 pm

      Five years! I don’t think that’s even possible unless you plain get rid of the TV altogether, which… no. TV has never been better! I’m not missing it for anything!

    • Bethany Ramos

      October 3, 2013 at 3:22 pm

      And then he’d be the creepy kid at all his friends’ houses that has never seen TV, just saying.

    • ted3553

      October 3, 2013 at 3:21 pm

      Agreed! things can be done in moderation. I am tired of all the silly rules. For some unknown reason my son took a liking to Dr. Phil very early on and could still care less about pretty much any other TV. I will put it on when he’s not feeling hot and it calms him right down. Someone can call the cops on me when he’s going in to his 50th straight hour of TV watching-otherwise butt out

    • Bethany Ramos

      October 3, 2013 at 3:24 pm

      I love your son. Dr. Phil is pwning my DVR right now!

    • ted3553

      October 3, 2013 at 3:31 pm

      It’s hilarious and anyone we tell laughs. We keep one on the PVR for those meltdown situations. He freezes as soon as the parental warning comes on. He’s only a year old but I don’t know what I’ll do when he can actually understand what they’re talking about and I can’t let him watch it:)

    • Courtney Lynn

      October 3, 2013 at 1:22 pm

      Exactly. I remember the TV always on in the background and I was quite the book worm.

    • MoD

      October 3, 2013 at 9:37 pm

      Totally agree. I grew up in a big family, and the television was always on, morning, noon, and night. And we’re all avid readers, too. Everyone in my family. I don’t think one of us can fall asleep without at least 20 minutes of reading (granted, since having a baby I’ve found it’s much easier to pass out in bed from sheer exhaustion). Although it’s not scientific proof, no one in my family has any sort of attention disorder, either.

      While my t.v. is almost constantly on – I’m usually not paying attention, I just like the background noise since I grew up with it – my son doesn’t care a whole lot for it. He’s 7 months now. When he was a few months old, he went through a phase where he was kind of into Dr. Who.

      I dunno. The t.v. situation in my house isn’t going to change. Maybe when my kid is older I’ll worry more about this stuff, but for now I’m just going to continue watching all the shows. Including Breaking Bad, in front of my baby.

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      October 7, 2013 at 9:54 am

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  5. Anika

    October 3, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    It scares me how transfixed my baby is by TV and computer screens, so I don’t let her see them. It helps that I don’t leave the TV on though because I hate my electric bill enough already.

  6. daly_beauty

    October 3, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    My kids watched TV from the get-go. My friends would tease me that my daughters would look at the TV and say “Mama?”. Eldest is now in top 2% at Cornell University, so start saving your money, Anonymous Mom πŸ˜‰

    • Eve Vawter

      October 3, 2013 at 12:36 pm

      YES! I don’t see anything wrong with this at all

  7. Ann B.

    October 3, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    I spent my entire maternity leave watching all 10 seasons of Stargate SG-1 with my first son. He seems just fine. I didn’t even cover his eyes for the gun fights! Really though, I don’t see what the big deal is. As long as you’re not using it as their only source of education/interaction/entertainment….whatevs.

    • Anika

      October 3, 2013 at 12:45 pm

      I did the exact same thing! When I’m literally spending 9 hours a day breastfeeding its a great time to watch Stargate!

    • K

      October 3, 2013 at 1:00 pm

      It was Buffy: The Vampire Slayer for me!

    • Lezerlies

      October 3, 2013 at 10:49 pm

      It w s Buffy for us, too!

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      October 4, 2013 at 7:51 pm

      HOLY CRAP! I just commented that above because I didn’t scroll all the way down first! Awesome!

    • meteor_echo

      October 3, 2013 at 5:24 pm

      Okay, semi-related question: up to which point is the whole Stargate franchise watchable? I never saw anything except for the original movie, but the series seem interesting (though I heard that at some point it all just turns into boring fanservicey mush, thus my curiosity).
      Halp plz?

    • Ann B.

      October 3, 2013 at 5:32 pm

      SG-1 is amazing, up until the cast change (I forget what season that is), and then it has a few good episodes but is mostly…meh. Atlantis is fantastic and ended way too early. Universe is….meh, okay, but was kinda doomed from the get go. Great characters, overly dramatic plotlines, and very few real antagonists. It also gets disorienting when they go back and forth between earth and the ship.

    • meteor_echo

      October 3, 2013 at 5:35 pm

      This is why I’m scared of big franchises XD
      So, at least the first several seasons of SG-1 are good? Does Atlantis go after SG-1? Sorry for all the questions!

    • Ann B.

      October 3, 2013 at 5:49 pm

      I believe the timeline is SG-1>Atlantis>Universe, but there might be some overlap in the later seasons of SG-1 and the first season or 2 or Atlantis. It’s been a few years since I watched. The beginning of the series is absolutely wonderful though. I cannot recommend it more highly.

    • Daniela

      October 3, 2013 at 10:32 pm

      Atlantis premiered at the beginning of SG-1’s season 8. (The season 7 finale & season 8 premiere were a sort of really long back-door pilot.) Universe started shortly after Atlantis ended.

      SG-1 started out pretty strong, but 10 seasons is a long time for any show, really. They had some really good episodes, though (‘Window of Opportunity’ is my hands-down favorite, and their 100th & 200th episodes are freaking hilarious.)

      Atlantis is my favorite, though. I will love it forever and ever and ever and always. They’re more diverse in terms of women & race, too. (By which I mean non-white people, not ‘beings from other planets’.) Seriously, the women are awesome. It’s just so amazing and I want everyone to love it.

      Universe did a pretty good job with having a diverse cast as well, and it was more heavily serialized than the first two series.

      But seriously – Atlantis, go watch it. (Jason Momoa and Rachel Luttrell, how are you so pretty?)

      (There are few shows where I’m like ‘this is a thing that I love and you need to go watch it and love it too’, but clearly the Stargates fall into that category.)

    • Elly

      October 4, 2013 at 1:12 am

      Upvote just for the Window of Opportunity πŸ˜› Okay and a well said post. But that episode was the best, ever.

      My take, SG-1, the one series I love more than any other tv show period. It was great for the first 6 seaons or so. The other seasons were good, and I did actually like 9 and 10, but the first 6 seasons definitely the best.

      Atlantis was meh to me. The first season was okish, but season 2 and 3 is where it shined for me.

      Now, Universe, I am probably one of the few who absolutely LOVED that show. I love the way it was set up, and as much as I love to get into what really got me hooked and loving the series, I wont because I hate to give away spoilers.

      Either way, the Stargate shows have always been my top favorite, and I would go all giddy like a happy teenage school girl if they bring out more.

    • Elly

      October 4, 2013 at 1:14 am

      Oh, and now I want to damn everyone here for making me pop out the dvds to watch it for like the bajillionth time πŸ˜›

  8. rebecca

    October 3, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    i Have The Tv On Literally All Day Long. My Kids Never Went To Pre School Either. And They Play Video Games. My Daughter Started Reading rightAfter She Turned 4 And At 5 Is Reading Chapter Books. My Son Hasn’t Been As enthusiastic, But Is Trying To Learn To Read Now So He Can Play The Same Games As His Sister. I Do Think The Quality Of The Programming Makes A Huge Difference Though.

    • Mel

      October 3, 2013 at 3:13 pm

      *I, *Right, * Enthusiastic

    • VA Teacher

      October 3, 2013 at 4:45 pm

      Really?

    • allisonjayne

      October 3, 2013 at 3:22 pm

      Downvoting because why on earth are you capitalizing everything?

    • Rachelle

      October 3, 2013 at 3:44 pm

      I remember her mentioning a while back that it was her phone that kept capitalizing everything.

    • allisonjayne

      October 3, 2013 at 3:59 pm

      Oh ok. Weird…but better than intentional I guess.

  9. pineapplegrasss

    October 3, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    first off let me start by… I let my kids watch TV. All 4 of them. But, I read that all of the flashing and lights and movement would hinder the wiring process of the developing brain and that you should not let any child under 2 watch tv.

  10. Kimberly

    October 3, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    I swear sports are soooo interesting when you’re a baby. My girlfriends son watched football from the get go. When the players would run he would kick his little legs and wave his arms emulating their movement. It was adorable and hilarious. If we turned him so he couldn’t see he’d lose it. If the game ended he’d be so upset. lol. He turned out ok. πŸ™‚ Moderation really is the key. I think a little tv, or a little computer time is ok. The problem only exists when a parent constantly uses it always as their go-to-sitter, at least try an activity or book first. That won’t always work, but it’s nice to try. Now, an important phone call comes in…can’t find a way to get five seconds for a conversation do what you gotta do. I just get upset when parents use it as a constant source of activity. In that case I can imagine that there is a little less growth and development verbally and socially in that case. Moderation.

  11. Lidurk

    October 3, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    When I was still trying anything and everything to get my 7 month actual, 3 month adjusted preemie to take his feeds by mouth, I found he ate better if he was watching tv. Got him to take a whole 2 oz while watching Silence of the Lambs. Not my proudest moment, but it worked.

    • Nicole

      October 10, 2013 at 12:21 am

      Hey, whatever works! And ‘Silence of the Lambs’ is a classic.

  12. bgk

    October 3, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    My daughter just turned 3 months. She loves watching/hearing Supernatural (the guys on the show all have deep voices & so does her daddy, so they soothe her) & OMG she loves football. I leave the TV on all day for the background noise (we live downtown w/loads of critters, so I can’t have a perfectly silent house for her to sleep in) just like my mama left a radio on all the time for me when I was little. Anytime she watches TV, I’m STILL interacting with her. “Oh, that was a bad guy, huh? OOOH! Look at the shiny angel!” or “What pretty colors the Patriots’ uniforms are! There’s red, blue, white…” etc. I describe everything she’s watching while she’s watching, so I don’t see the problem. It’s a box with flashing colors to her. I even asked my bil who’s a brain surgeon if he thought it would mess w/her development & he said “Every child since TV was invented has watched TV as an infant. So probably not.”
    Anyway, there’s so many ridiculous contradictory studies out there about how we “should” raise our babies. Don’t rush to them whenever they cry. Respond quickly to their distress so they grow up to feel secure. Gives them lots of contact time. Don’t ever let them fall asleep in your arms. No one knows wtf they’re talking about. πŸ˜› Just do what feels right TO YOU. It’ll all work out.

    • bgk

      October 3, 2013 at 10:59 pm

      Also, we have infinity billion music channels through our cable service, so I have swing or classical or world music on most of the day. Not just actual TV shows. The only thing that flashes on the screen when it’s music is the info for the song & it only changes when a new song comes on. It’s handy & it helped me figure out that 80s pop music makes my baby fall asleep. LOL

  13. JulesInFL

    October 3, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    I watched a ton of TV during my maternity leave. Munchkin mostly tuned it out, but I was so utterly exhausted that I couldn’t imagine how else to get through the day. We had it on less when she was ~3-12 months, but I honestly don’t know how you could go to age 2 with zero screen time. She’s 2 now, and plays so hard and is so constantly “on,” that sometimes she just needs a break (as do we). Besides, tell me what’s better than snuggling on the couch with The Little Mermaid??

  14. Karyn

    October 3, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    I heard from a very reliable source (meaning I have no idea where I heard it or whether or not it is reliable) that Sesame Street isn’t quite as bad because the frame never moves/pans around. Therefore it doesn’t have the same negative impact as far as depth perception and spacial comprehension.

  15. Rachel Sea

    October 3, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    It makes sense to me that it’s a bad idea to park your kid in front of the TV, or to let them have so much screen time that it turns them into assholes (my friends 3 year old has convinced me that iPad addiction is real), but zero screen time until they are 5? Please. That means never having any device on in the house while they are awake, never going out to a restaurant, the laundromat, the gas station…screens are ubiquitous.

    I watch TV (well, the computer really, because the only thing hooked up to the TV are the PlayStation and Wii) when I want to disconnect a little bit. It’s not a time when I would be engaging and stimulating to an infant anyway. Babies in most other cultures spend a lot more time passively observing than American babies do, and I suspect in 50 years we’ll find out that the notion that we have to interact constantly to make smart babies is bunk.

    • AP

      October 3, 2013 at 7:45 pm

      “No screen time for babies” seems kind of cruel to parents, to me. I think an adult is entitled to want to grab the news, watch a favorite show, or veg out in front of the TV once in awhile. To say that an adult can’t do that if a baby is even present sounds ridiculous and unrealistic.

      Obviously there’s a line where it becomes unacceptable, but a responsible adult being a responsible adult is not going to intractably scar their child with the occasional episode of “The Office” or the “NBC Nightly News.”

    • Kelby Johnson

      October 4, 2013 at 1:09 am

      Both my kids love the TV. It’s on all day long and it’s usually on Nick Jr, but sometimes I change it to something I want to watch. While the TV is on at my house, my kids are running around, playing with dolls, trucks, dirt bikes, etc. Don’t get me wrong, there are times that they sit on the couch or floor or something and watch a show or 2. They are both good students and well rounded, well behaved kids in my opinion. I don’t think TV has been ‘detrimental’ to either of them.

  16. technicolorpachyderms

    October 3, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    I’m really surprised how many of you have the TV on “in the background”. My TV is never on unless I’m watching it. Why would you want it on if you’re not watching it? I’ll put on music or listen to a podcast, sure. But I don’t just have my TV on like that. I’m not trying to be shitty, I honestly can’t comprehend why you would just have it on if you’re not watching it.

    • CMJ

      October 3, 2013 at 1:54 pm

      I have baseball on (or other sports) in the background all the time.

    • Aldonza

      October 3, 2013 at 1:59 pm

      I find the noise calming. My podcasts I want to pay attention to, music distracts me, but that episode of “The SImpson’s” I’ve seen 20 times? Relaxing. TV noise helps me fall asleep but music keeps my brain too alert. That’s me though, my fiance is the opposite. He finds TV super distracting if it’s on when he’s trying to work.

    • Ptownsteveschick

      October 3, 2013 at 2:46 pm

      I get it because I very much used to be the same way, but it seems the older I get(and the louder my constantly jabbering toddler) I love the tv turned off and I don’t even watch my own shows until after she goes to bed. She has shows she likes but I can only take a part of the day with all that toddler friendly peppiness. I sit in silence every day for about an hour once she goes to bed and love it, but before I had a kid it would have been torture. Now too many noises over lapping each other gives me migraines.

    • LiteBrite

      October 3, 2013 at 5:25 pm

      I used to leave it on when I lived alone because having a TV on made it less creepy sometimes. But now I’m more like “Is anybody watching that thing? Then turn it OFF.”

    • Amanda

      October 3, 2013 at 6:59 pm

      Honestly, I have it on in the background to help with the loneliness. I stay at home with a 3 year old and 1 year old, and I’m often desperate for adult interaction. The TV on in the background makes me feel less alone. Ok, this is coming out really depressing, and I promise I’m not THAT pathetic, but I like it in the background so things aren’t so quiet. I imagine this will change as my kids get older.

    • Valeri Jones

      October 4, 2013 at 12:52 am

      How do you have a 3 year old and a 1 year old AND a quiet house?

      I’m honestly curious. I’m about to have a 2 year old and a newborn, so I need to know these things.

    • Katherine Handcock

      October 4, 2013 at 9:49 am

      I’m guessing during those precious synchronized naptimes, or in the evenings…Mine were 22 months apart, and when they were both asleep, it was almost disturbingly quiet in the evening.

      Now, my son is 4 1/2 and talks like you wouldn’t believe (comes by it honestly, he gets it from me.) I treasure silence.

    • Blooming_Babies

      October 4, 2013 at 12:06 pm

      Agreed 100% with a 2 & 4 year old that “adult” background noise really helps me. On days when I want to change my name “mom mommy MOMMY MOM” that background noise may be the only thing keeping me from going nuts.

    • Blueathena623

      October 3, 2013 at 9:30 pm

      We don’t have cable (economic reasons), and once we lost it my “TV in the background” pretty much dropped to nada because it required effort to keep something going. We can now watch Netflix on the TV, and that has been a life saver sometimes. But I’ve lost my taste for having the TV on for background noise. When we had the kid, at first the silence was scary and sometimes oppressive, especially when he was young and didn’t do anything. Now that he’s a toddler, there isn’t a lot of silence.
      Plus, if I’m talking and the TV is on, I often lose my thought and stop mid sentence.
      I don’t judge anyone for leaving the TV on, but I suggest they spend a day or two with it off. Silence can be interesting.

    • Kelby Johnson

      October 4, 2013 at 12:59 am

      My TV is on 24/7 lol
      The noise in the background makes me feel better. I’m not sure why, it’s probably just a strange habit I’ve developed over the years.

    • Chrissy

      October 6, 2013 at 9:31 pm

      Our tv is always on. I can’t actually tell you why. I’d be just fine with music on instead, but I also like to be able to look up and see Nathan Fillion’s face, I guess.

  17. HaydenT

    October 3, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    I am uncomfortable with how casual everyone here is being about letting/encouraging their babies watch television. There is not once study, not one, that supports letting children younger than two years old watch television. Every single study says it is detrimental.

    I know sometimes, as a parent, you have to make a choice regarding what is in your best interest (that may be contrary to what is optimal for your child) so that you can be a better parent; I think parents often use tv in that category. If sitting a baby in front of the television for an hour gives you a moment for yourself, and helps keep you sane, then making the choice to let your child watch television makes sense.

    But a high level of stimulation is harmful. Television guidelines for children older than two are to keep it to an hour, if I recall correctly for children under 3 years old, and that the shows be (1) educational and (2) slow, without quick edits and bright, blaring lights and sounds.

    We are not wired to be so highly stimulation from such a young age. There is a correlation between the creep of television and other digital devices and the rates of ADD/ADHD, sensory processing disorders, and other learning disabilities. Research is ongoing to determine causation, but that will take time since the level of electronic exposure is so much higher than it used to be and, so far, research results have not included other “screens” like iPads, etc. because of this.

    Babies’ brains are wiring themselves to their environment, and television stimulation is both passive and highly stimulating. The research is very clear that the optimal learning ‘canvass’ for babies is the human face.

    It is clear that Anonymous Mom has no problem with the electronic environment she is creating, and in fact promoting, for her infant. She even strikes me as a little proud of her choice in a way that is ‘rebelling’ against what the “shoulds” of Motherhood, which are overwhelming and impossible for one person to measure up to.

    But that doesn’t change the fact that there is a evidence based consensus against television for children younger than two years old.

    • HaydenT

      October 3, 2013 at 1:51 pm

      I hate when I re-read a comment like this and grammer! after I have already posted it. Sorry, everyone.

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      October 4, 2013 at 7:54 pm

      grammar?

    • HaydenT

      October 4, 2013 at 8:55 pm

      [facepalm] Yesterday I spent 3 minutes trying to remember how to spell “feud”. I swear to god I was like “Fewd? No, that’s not right. Fude?? That’s definitely not right. What other permutations are there?”

      Holy, Jesus, I really am more stupid than I have ever been.

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      October 4, 2013 at 9:57 pm

      πŸ™‚

    • Hibbie

      October 3, 2013 at 2:44 pm

      “But a high level of stimulation is harmful.”

      I don’t think any of us are advocating for a “high level” of stimulation or for multiple hours of television viewing. A number of us have mentioned moderation. The common thread in this comment section seems to be that tv has its limited uses (for both the child and the parent), but it is just one small part of parenthood/childhood.

    • HaydenT

      October 3, 2013 at 4:08 pm

      Television is an artificially high level of stimulation for a baby. Additionally, what Anonymous Mom, and others, are describing is not a “small” part of childhood but a daily, almost constant influence. The data shows that even if a baby is not watching the television, it still negatively impacts their development.

    • Rachelle

      October 3, 2013 at 3:38 pm

      On one hand I will agree with you. My husband recently worked on a documentary that pointed to a correlation with our 1st world addiction to screens and what it does to us (diminishing brain activity, for instance, in important parts of the brain). That’s why I totally advocate moderation and if you’re a family that lives without TV as part of your lives, amazing! But the reality is that screens will become more and more a part of our children’s futures as technology continues its upswing.

      I try not watching my own TV shows when she’s in the playroom (where the TV is, too because of the layout of the house) and limit it to shows like Super Why and Cat in the Hat. I – surprisingly – haven’t let her interact with my iPad beyond the sometimes-necessary-during-long-roadtrips Happy Feet movie (although I did get her educational games for it and she’s used it once or twice, but then lost interest…)

      But like you say, sometimes downtime in front of a movie or child-appropriate show is necessary for a parental breather when you’re home alone with your child or need to accomplish something with both hands.

      We have to make decisions sometimes like choosing between making your own baby food or providing pre-made organic food, wooden blocks or plastic toys, cribs or co-sleeping, baby carrying or strollers, breastfeeding or formula – all of which come with their huge lists of research supporting or going against one another. It boils down to each parent’s habits, capacities, priorities and choices.

    • HaydenT

      October 3, 2013 at 4:10 pm

      It is also important to recognize that television has a different impact on children of different ages. The recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics are not the same for an infant and a 5 year old.

    • HaydenT

      October 3, 2013 at 4:17 pm

      I just realized it may not be clear in my original comment – no television is recommended for children under 2 years of age and an hour of slow paced, educational programming for children 2-3 years of age.

      From the American Academy of Pediatrics, this paper lays out the research on television in more detail: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/107/2/423.full

      It is light on non-television electronics because research is still on-going in that area.

    • Lbdmom

      October 3, 2013 at 4:34 pm

      My son has ADHD and sensory issues and has had them since birth. Seriously, I knew something was wrong from very early on and it became more evident the older he got. You cannot GIVE your child ADHD by letting them watch tv.

      He didn’t btw.

    • HaydenT

      October 3, 2013 at 4:51 pm

      The research in this area is inconclusive and research is ongoing; no one knows what causes ADD/ADHD and sensory processing disorders yet although there are several areas being focused on for additional study: (1) lead exposure, (2) a mother smoking, drinking, or using other drugs during pregnancy, (3) media exposure. Sugar and other food additives have pretty conclusively been ruled out as a factor.

      We do know that there is a definitive genetic component which is ‘triggered’ by environmental factors. As yet, we are still determining what factors, and during what stage of development, are responsible.

      There is a distinct difference between the environment we have evolved for and the environment we live in; right now scientists are working to identify discrete factors.

      ADD/ADHD, specifically, is characterized by an alteration in normal brain structures and the regulation of dopamine and
      norepinephrine. As far as I know, we do not know which came first – the altered structure/regulation or the ADD/ADHD. We know even less about sensory processing disorders.

      Media exposure in infants is one factor being assessed.

    • Lbdmom

      October 3, 2013 at 5:28 pm

      Yeah ok, I can assure you I did none if those things while pregnant. I also don’t watch tv myself. And my husband has ADHD so I’m pretty sure it’s genetic. My son is exactly like my husband was. So, there’s that and also the fact that he has been like this since birth, like literally came out that way.

    • HaydenT

      October 3, 2013 at 6:23 pm

      There is an interesting theory that ADD/ADHD is an adaptation for a more hunter-based society: the ability to concentrate for a very long period of time coupled with ‘attention disregulation’. For hunters, being aware of everything in an environment and having one’s attention flit from subject to subject is theorized to be an advantage. The idea is that ADD/ADHD is a trait that would be a benefit in another societal structure and not a disability.

    • Simone

      October 3, 2013 at 6:45 pm

      I appreciate this information. Our household has recently commenced ‘Screen-free Mondays’ and is progressing to two days per week screen-free starting next week. It has a real positive result on family functioning.

    • Katherine Handcock

      October 4, 2013 at 9:56 am

      My problem with most of these studies is twofold:

      1) The ones I’ve read don’t explain how the stimulation of a TV is different from, say, a baby watching the world whoosh by in a jogging stroller. Both would involve rapidly changing images, lots of sound, etc. So while I agree that kids shouldn’t be staring at a TV all day, I think it’s important to acknowledge that there are many stimulating, even overstimulating, things in a baby’s life that we’re not studying.

      2) They don’t address the whole family situation. If mom is exhausted, and she desperately needs a break, I think that half an hour or an hour of TV for the child is not more damaging than having mom stressed out, angry, or depressed for the remaining 23 hours of the day.

      There’s nothing wrong with telling parents, “TV can have these effects; it should be limited for younger children.” But I do have a problem with saying, “It is damaging to your child to watch ANY TV, even a few minutes worth, even occasionally.”

    • HaydenT

      October 4, 2013 at 5:48 pm

      There are several studies that parse out results by type of television experience. One, for example, focuses on slow paced, educational programming versus fast paced, non-educational programming. Real life is not remotely comparable to an episode of Pokemon.

      Another study looks at the difference between a television on ‘in the background’ and it’s effect on language in the home, e.g. that people tend to talk less – both to the infant and to each other – when television is constantly on.

      Additional studies focus on the difference between sitting down with your child and interactively watching television – pointing out objects they may recognize and talking to them about them – and just putting them in front of the television.

      Additionally, there is a big difference between a 2D passive experience and a 4D interactive experience. Even if a baby doesn’t appear to be interacting with their environment, they are assimilating texture and smells, changing ‘real’ light conditions, as well as a health exposure to sunlight for vitamin D production. Not to mention, a parent is right there and often talking to baby.

      I appreciate your point about people using television as a coping mechanism. Parents are absolutely stressed out and more isolated than in years past. We no longer have allo-parenting (non-biological, community parenting) in the way we evolved to. Scientists believe that part of our success as a species is directly related to the “grandmother effect”. Basically, evolutionarily, what is the point of a non-reproductive participant in a culture? As “grandmothers”, an elderly woman provides supplementary care of progeny, helping increase the biological odds of success in any given community.

      I absolutely agree with this point, which is why I mentioned it in my original post. Perfection is the enemy of the good if a parent is stressed to the point of possible abuse, or not being able to be emotionally or physically available to their child.

      It is important to have all the information to make decisions as a parent. Again, as I originally wrote, I objected to the tone of the writer and commenters which patently goes against ALL the scientific data with regards to children under 2 years of age.

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      October 4, 2013 at 8:03 pm

      There is research, of course, and it makes sense that this new technology would affect our caveman brains. There are also plenty of parents who are on here saying that we were raised with tv in the background all the time. And we are fully functional adults. My husband’s mother was the ultimate tv addict, and he can sing almost every theme song from the 80s and 90s (literally, he prides himself on this). And he is one of the most brilliant people I know. No ADHD, me either, nor most adults. So….meh.

    • HaydenT

      October 4, 2013 at 9:06 pm

      It’s one thing to weigh the risks and benefits of television exposure to make an informed decision; it’s completely another to use anecdotal, cherry-picked ‘evidence’ to support an existing bias.

      Also, you can’t really equate the format and quantity of programming available today to what was available in the 80s and 90s.

    • Chrissy

      October 6, 2013 at 9:58 pm

      Let’s just remember that correlation =/= causation. Many of these studies ARE well done. However, a problem is that ADHD and related disorders went without a diagnosis for a long while (just as all other disorders have at one point and other disorders are right now. Diagnostic criteria is constantly changing). When people started getting interested in looking into it, the disorders were diagnosed a lot more often and screens were starting to be a staple.

      I don’t think anyone can say that putting a toddler in front of a television for 90% of the day is good for it, but I don’t think anyone IS saying that. I mean, television is no substitute for human interaction. However, I was basically raised by a television and I have a masters degree. My siblings were raised by a stay at home mother without television access in an age where a home computer was pure science fiction, and they have more diagnoses than I do (bipolar, depression, sleeping disorders, anxiety, a personality disorder, and even ADHD). I, on the other hand, have none of that. It’s a problem with studies. We take the information that is inconclusive and start using it as fact to make recommendations when they’re really suggestions and educated best guesses.

  18. JBC

    October 3, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    I’m totally the IPad mom! Only it was on an airplane, our 3rd flight in 24 hours and the couple sitting next to me said “Oh, are you really going to give him that?!?” I said either that or they can babysit him while I move to a seat with more leg room for the duration of the flight. TV, Ipad, Oreos – bring it on!

  19. jendra_berri

    October 3, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    I totally watch TV. I’ve put Sesame Street on especially, just to see if it would make him happy. While I think only having TV is bad, TV being a part of a larger routine that includes other interesting and loving activities and interactions is totally fine. I try to minimize it and stuff, but I don’t shield my son from the screen when I’m watching something I want to watch, especially if there’s nothing bad on there.

    Though, having said that, one day a commercial for Insidious 2 came on and I covered my eyes because it scared me. Then my husband pointed out our baby was lounging in his bouncy chair, watching the screen the whole time. Whoops.

    He doesn’t seem worse for wear, though ;D

  20. LeftCoaster

    October 3, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    When the boy was 3 months old, the only thing that would calm him down during his “witching hour” of 7-8pm was Jeopardy. When he was 18 months old, he loved The West Wing. At 8, he has unfortunately regressed to watching dumb cartoons, but at least for a few years he had great taste in tv!

  21. Ana

    October 3, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    Does anyone else watch the Baby First channel? I love it because there are no crazy flashing lights and sounds, they teach stuff like counting and colors, and there are no commercials. And at night they play classical music and lullabies with calming images.

    I do worry a little about the rest of the tv my toddler is exposed to, but most of the time she is bored by it and plays instead, and mommy and daddy need our down time too. My neighbor doesn’t have a tv, and when her little ones are at someone else’s house they are totally glued to it. They don’t even play with the other kids, they just go to the tv and stare at it the entire time like they are in a trance. Moderation is key.

  22. Kim

    October 3, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    My 3 month old likes the food channel. Sure one could argue that she just likes the pretty colours and movement, however I choose to believe that one day she will just get up and cook me a really awesome dinner.

    • Alice

      October 5, 2013 at 10:34 pm

      Studies have precisely validated your suspicions; a child is hard-wired to look at light displays, whether they enjoy them or not, according to various studies mentioned in books like Bright from the Start. To test this out, try flashing a laser light; your child is almost guaranteed to look after it. But who would want to stare at a laser light instead of Mom’s face for hours? Hopefully, it’s not hours…

  23. Genevieve

    October 3, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    Well I must be in the minority then…

    We don’t even own a tv. Not because of some philosophical reason but because tv in New Zealand recently switched to digital and we couldn’t afford to upgrade, so we had a tv smashing party..as in my husband and I hitting our really old crappy tv with a hammer.

    Anyhow, my son has never watched tv I was worried he would be the creepy kid at friends houses when it was on, but he shows ZERO interest in it.

    Oh, and it took about a week of tv withdrawals, now we don’t miss it at all. we don’t even have a computer just an iPad, that refused to okay any tv shows or youtube videos longer than 20 secounds.

    I guess I’m lucky because we live on a farm so we are always busy and outside. By the end of the day it’s eat and sleep.

    • Katherine Handcock

      October 4, 2013 at 9:59 am

      I think it’s great if you don’t have a TV and are happy with it! I would never criticize someone who made that call either. My only problem is with making parents feel like, if they DON’T give up TV (to a greater or lesser extent), they’re bad parents.

    • Genevieve

      October 5, 2013 at 12:54 am

      I totally agree – we are in the process of becoming foster parents, when you do see truly negligible parenting it really makes you want to ( hypothetically ) shake the sancti out of the sanctimomies,

      A child watches tv in an otherwise loving home – big deal, a child is formula fed, front faced, in a crotch dangler, ferberised.. Yadda yadda yadda, that is not bad parenting.. Bad parenting is the kid who we are trying to get with iron burns all over his back.

      I really wish people would pull all this anger and spite and turn it into something productive – something that helps end abuse not something that drives a wedge between good parents who really just need each other.

  24. CrushLily

    October 3, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    My 2.4 year old son didn’t watch TV and he won’t talk. My friend’s daughter of the same age doesn’t shut up and she has the TV on all the time. Now I’m the only parent in the world who thinks TV may HELP him talk – but he’s not remotely interested in it. Argh, who knows?!

  25. Momma425

    October 3, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    I started letting my daughter watch the wiggles at 6 months old. I thought it was great. She would stop clinging to me and sit in her entertainer and I had 15 MINUTES to take a shower or do the dishes or use the restroom without having to juggle a baby in my hands and wipe at the same time.
    Between ages 1 and 2, my daughter watched a half hour of tv every night before bed. She sometimes watched during the day, not in large amounts or anything, but a 15 minute show here, few minutes there.
    My daughter is almost 5 now, and she doesn’t watch a TON of TV, but on the weekends she watches a few shows. She does a book before bed (when she was 2.5-3 she would finally sit through a whole book). We use the TV as a wind down thing when she is all ralled up before a nap, or when she is extremely upset and needs some calm down time. I don’t let her watch anything inappropriate or that would scare her. No sex, violence, drugs, etc… She has even been to the movie theatre.
    I don’t see any stunt in her growth. She is in pre-k and is already reading, can write her name, and knows basic addition. She has TONS of friends, does appropriate imaginative play all the time, and has a better memory than me. She is smart as a whip. Maybe the damage from her baby tv-watching is supposed to come later?
    Like everything, I think moderation is key. I can understand how a young child watching hours on end of television, or TV being used as a babysitter while the kid has no appropriate supervision or interactions would be terrible for devolopment, but I don’t think you are a bad parent or are doing anything wrong at all.

  26. Harriet Meadow

    October 3, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    For the first two months of my son’s life, I watched A LOT of TV. That’s because he was a terrible nurser and I was a terrible milk producer, and I was either struggling to feed him for an hour (every two hours) or pumping. Netflix was my friend. Once he started actually *noticing* the TV though, I started limiting it. I used to have the TV on “in the background” because my husband works afternoons/evenings and I get lonely when it gets dark, but now I wait until the baby goes to bed and when we’re all together we try to listen to music instead (the only exception is if the Avs are playing hockey or the Steelers are playing football, but even then we try to make sure he’s interacting with us and not just zoning out to the TV). And I’ve noticed that I get a lot more done when the TV is off during the day, and I feel generally calmer. But that’s just me. I think as long as things are done in moderation, they’re ok. My grandma used to babysit me when I was a wee babby, and she watched soap operas all day. My mom always watched Perry Mason at noon and my Dad watched Star Trek in the evenings (I still remember both shows well). I also played outside a ton. I’ve done extremely well in school all my life and am a total bookworm. Too much media is bad, I have no doubt, but those of us who were raised with a little bit of media know that it’s also not going to kill us.

  27. Blueathena623

    October 3, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    I limit TV in our house, although he still watches some and he’s under two. These are my personal reasons for doing so.
    1. I can’t concentrate well with a TV on unless I am JUST watching the show, which you can’t do with an active kid. So I’m paying attention to both and neither at the same time, so I’d rather just concentrate on one, and the kid wins because he can climb and possible fall and break limbs.
    2. I want my kid to learn that silence is ok. I spent a good deal of my life being silence-phobic, to the point where I couldn’t even stand pauses in conversation and would just say crap to keep the silence away. I want him to be comfortable with silence.
    3. Even at this early age, while it might be futile, I want him to practice being bored and coming up with his own amusement. With the TV on, the moment he is bored with his toys he can have instant gratification with the TV on. I don’t want him to have that.
    4. I very much agree that moms need downtime, but I want him to see me having downtime in ways other than TV watching. So we don’t watch any adult TV together (although even I can get sucked in curious George and Sesame Street). If he will let me have downtime, I read books or magazines or stuff on my iPad. Granted, he totally doesn’t know I’m reading (mommyish, big culprit) on the iPad, but I need a little leeway. Sometimes I color because I find that relaxing, or knit. It could be TOTAL coincidence, but he’s a frantic little monkey, but when he needs a break he starts to pull out books and will actually sit still.
    Again, these are my personal reasons. I really have no opinion on how much or little other kids watch TV, because they aren’t my kids and I don’t know what works for them and their family.

  28. Traci Morrissette

    October 3, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    Uh, sweetheart, speaking as a parent who does give my son my phone at a restaurant, you are pot calling kettle black, so STFU. My son reads very well (and I’m fairly certain he is above grade level), he is getting slowly into writing, he is polite, and I do let him use my phone to play angry birds at a restaurant. It goes away once food is about, but in the mean time, My husband and I try and take advantage of the few times we can actually have a full conversation without text messaging. You don’t want to be judged – don’t judge others in return.

    • Spiderpigmom

      October 4, 2013 at 12:59 am

      Um, I’m pretty sure Anonymous Mom was being facetious here. Where is your sense of humour?

  29. Amanda

    October 4, 2013 at 6:25 am

    I’m a SAHM at the moment, and for my 8 month old, TV is off until after 5pm, sometimes later depending. We have the radio on for background noise instead. However, in her earlier months she’s seen some inappropriate shows that I wouldn’t have on with her now (Game of Thrones). Even now my husband and I work our way through various shows during dinner. You should see how fast her head turns when she hears the Big Bang Theory theme song. There’s worse things than the TV, especially if you’re getting out and about and interacting other ways throughout the rest of the day.

  30. Katherine Handcock

    October 4, 2013 at 10:04 am

    I’m all about moderation too…there are days when the kids watch more TV than I would like, but they’re both active and busy with imaginative play the rest of the time, and they definitely don’t whine or complain when the TV goes off, so that’s a good balance for me. I try not to watch most of my own shows around them, but that’s because I like things like CSI etc. that feature some graphic special effects. Actually, I “cheated” a bit and watched Mayday (a show about airplane accident investigations) while my toddler was playing the other day, and now she keeps taking her toy plane and going, “Whoosh!” as she steers it into the ground. Oops.

    What bothers me more is actually how my son reacts to games — not so much console video games but the iPhone games we have. Something about the touch interaction seems to really draw him in, and he DOES sometimes get to the point where he will yell when I tell him his phone time is up. Of course, he’s learning pretty fast that doing that results in the phone going away for the rest of the day, and limited use the next day, so that’s settling down as fast as you can expect for a four-year-old πŸ˜‰

  31. dcford

    October 4, 2013 at 10:44 am

    ditto what this article and other posters have said – i think we are all too hard on ourselves these days about “screen time.” odds are, the same parents who are uber concerned about whether their kids are watching too much tv are the same ones making an extra effort to expose them to meaningful stimuli throughout the rest of the day. i just can’t accept the idea that between the dozens of pinterest-worthy art activities, sensory exercises, reading nooks, play groups, and extracurricular activities (i’m looking at you, toddler gymnastics), growing kids who are exposed to tv/tablets/etc at a young age are damned for life. we all deserve a cupcake for taking the time to practice mindful parenting!

  32. Mae Blackwood

    October 4, 2013 at 11:12 am

    All of us watched TV as kids, we were all extremely bright. I don’t know if it was the TV or what. We still got plenty of stimulation and all the other stuff we needed. I never understood the TV thing. I’ll probably let my kid watch TV too. She won’t live in front of it, but she’ll probably watch the cute little kid shows on and things of the such.

    I just don’t see how watching TV as a child is the worst thing you could possibly subject your child to.

  33. Me

    October 4, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    Not really sure what’s so wrong with giving your kid an ipad at a restaurant. Rather that than have them screaming and crying with boredom.

  34. G.E. Phillips

    October 4, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    I was a little afraid there’d be some sanctimommy comments in here but instead, I found all of my people!!!!

  35. sfphilli

    October 4, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    It’s like the first one you read said, the only thing wrong with occasional TV exposure is that it completely halts development for however long the baby is transfixed — but if the baby is still getting all kinds of stimulus elsewhere, he’s almost definitely fine. From what I’ve read and seen, the whole attention span thing only becomes a problem (for such small dosages, anyway) for older ages, say toddlerhood and young childhood. So basically, don’t worry.

  36. FormerlyKnownAsWendy

    October 4, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    A few weeks after I had my second we got to be a Nielsen family for a week. You had to list everything, and note when it was left on but nobody was really watching it. I was soooo embarrassed listing how many reruns of CSI I watched during that time. Probably the reason CSI is on a thousand times a day in so many different iterations is my fault. There was just something so comforting it and the other billion shows I watched when the baby was small. With my first it was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I played her the theme song a while back thinking she would recognize it as some kind of familiar lullaby, and I was a bit dissapointed that she did not. But I think if it was just you and the baby and silence alternating with a newborn screaming, you’d go crazy.

  37. Alice

    October 5, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    According to the American Pediatrics Association, TV is not recommended for children prior to 2 years of age, predominantly because it has been shown to distract the mother from engaging with her child verbally while watching TV. The reduced verbal communication during this time has been shown to result in slightly lower verbal capacity at the age of 5 and/or marginally delayed; the research is still ambivalent at this age about correlation to ADHD. Studies have been performed showing that the developing mind does not respond as fully to a recording of his mother, versus his mother herself (him being generic for him or her here). Children had greater difficulty, furthermore, at the age of 3, mimicking a person on screen, versus one in person – who were performing the same acts before them. No educational software or game has been shown to increase intelligence in young children. This is a summary of the current research; I myself allow a few repeated youtube music videos for my child to go to sleep at night, but, I do so with hesitation given the findings of scientist whom, as far as I can discern, would have no reason to fabricate these negative findings against a very powerful child-entertainment lobby. Granted, it is easier for me, not having a TV, and having only a laptop.

  38. ChiChi

    October 6, 2013 at 11:39 am

    I watched Fox news when I was really little with my parents, House Hunters, What not to Wear, and all the others, and I proud to say I was a straight-A student. I learned to read earlier than anyone else in my class. If I’m okay, you’ll be fine! I’m the girl how saw Rambo when she was little! And reenacted it!

  39. goggins

    October 11, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Thank God there are intelligent people/parents in this world! I cannot STAND all the donny-do-gooders who try to tell people that merely having the TV on in the same room with their child may harm him. Hell, these are exactly the same physcho’s who are the helicopter parents, the freaky no-sugar-EVER parents (not even at another kid’s B’day party), whose kids end up being FREAKS! Trust me I’ve cared for not only my own son (who by the way is in his fourth year at a wonderful university in the physics program, and he’s a TA-ha) and yes, it too watched some TV when he was little, but I’ve cared for many other children during my career as a provider. Bottom line: LIGHTEN UP FRANCIS!! (gotta love the movie Stripes!). As long as it’s a “treat” and not their steady “diet” go talking box!!!

  40. SarahJesness

    October 12, 2013 at 4:16 am

    Meh. Probably not something I would do if I had kids (but hey, who knows? Everyone plans the perfect parenting strategy in their heads but it rarely works out perfectly) but it’s not really one of those things I’d get worked up over when someone else does it. I mean, it’s not like it’s child abuse or anything.

  41. Cassandy

    October 31, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    Love this. My son also preemie, low birthweight, tons of health issues when he grew older. I lived on TV during his first year of “lets feed every hour!”. And you know what? When you have a 2.5 year old on his second brain surgery of the year, stuck on the couch for a solid month because, oh yeah, he needs to relearn how to walk, the TV is a godsend. It is our saviour. Bout of pneumonia? TV. Hospital stay? TV. Three hour wait at the doctor’s office? Tablets, iphone, and TV TV TV. We are all over it. Awesome.

  42. Wow!

    November 1, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    Barely watch television and it was barely on in my house as a child , it’s not good for anyone to be transfixed constantly to something like that especially an infant or any child for that matter. You feel bad for those like me and I likewise pitty those like you whose lives revolve around “having to watch your shows” smh… But hey you spend your free time dumbing down and I spend mine expanding my knowledge. Habits you learn as children I suppose….

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