Not for me. For Cooper!
Once again we have been warned by the pediatrician to STOP letting Cooper watch TV. We were told this from the very beginning and did a great job until after his first birthday. That’s when we started to fall apart. He became alot more active and the only way to keep him still was to put on a YouTube video or a Sprout or Disney show, while we got things done. He loves Elmo and it was really easy to keep him in one place, doing nothing destructive. The more we put the TV on the easier it became to parent him and it became addictive for all of us!
Clearly we knew down deep we should not be using television as a babysitter, but it was so easy. However, with the gentle/not so gentle reminder we got from the pediatrician Friday, we decided to finally shut it off and for good reason.
The American Academy of Pediatrics states:
“Pediatricians should urge parents to avoid television viewing for children under the age of 2 years. Although certain television programs may be promoted to this age group, research on early brain development shows that babies and toddlers have a critical need for direct interactions with parents and other significant caregivers (eg, child care providers) for healthy brain growth and the development of appropriate social, emotional, and cognitive skills. Therefore, exposing such young children to television programs should be discouraged.”
Ok. Shutting off the TV isn’t easy. Not for us anyhow, we have more TV’s in this house than people. But when they told me to take folic acid when I was pregnant, I did. When they told me not to eat food with mercury, I didn’t. Why? To promote heathy brain growth for my baby. Why should I ignore them now? I shouldn’t. It is putting my wants above my child’s needs and that’s not the type of parent I want to be. Regardless of how much I want to watch The Chew (that’s what DVR and naptime is for).
So with this reminder we decided we needed to be VERY clear about the TV rules. What about YouTube videos? No. What about iPad games? NO. What about TV in the background. Absolutely Not. We were led to this article from PBS.
“According to a recent study conducted by a group of scholars and published in American Behavioral Scientist, the television is on approximately six hours a day on average in American homes. Yet little is known about the impact of growing up in the near constant presence of television. They studied the prevalence and developmental impact of “heavy-television” households on very young children from birth to age 6 drawn from a nationally representative sample. Thirty-five percent of the children lived in a home where the television was on “always” or “most of the time,” even if no one was watching. Regardless of their age, children from heavy-television households watched more television and read less than other children. Furthermore, children exposed to constant television were less likely to be able to read than other children. Also, other research has shown that one-, two-, and three-year-olds’ play and attention spans are shorter in length in the presence of background television, and parent-child interactions are also less frequent in the presence of background television.”
Well that is no good. We want to give Coop every opportunity and if that means shutting off the TV while he is awake for the next 6 months. It is definitely doable. This weekend was our first TV free weekend in a long time. What I found was we played outside a lot more, we colored, we read, and built block towers. A couple of times he asked for Elmo or Barney but when I told him “no” he quickly forgot. So maybe his “love ” for TV was little more than my interpretation of the only thing I was giving him to do.
I know it won’t be easy but we are committed to this!
Question: Do you ever have trouble with this? Do you let your older kids watch TV or do you keep a TV schedule with rules?