Should babies be allowed to watch television?
There are two schools of thought on this. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under 2 not be allowed to watch TV. Other child experts believe that limited amounts of high-quality educational TV can be beneficial, especially when accompanied with adult interaction.
Assuming you decide to let your child watch some TV before age 2, there are three main points to bear in mind to ensure that television watching remains a safe and beneficial activity for your baby. They are: content, quantity, and supervision.
Questions to Ask
Not all television programs for babies are created equal. While moderate viewing of high-quality educational programs can be beneficial, there is nothing beneficial about letting your baby watch an entertainment-based program. Cartoons, for example, may be designed for children, but they are really not suitable for babies.
To judge the quality of a program, ask yourself the following questions:
Is there a high degree of language content?
Babies probably don't learn much from watching ink swirls set to music, or from hearing characters speak a cutesy made-up language.
Is the action slow-paced and easy to understand?
Some experts believe that seeing rapidly shifting images could be bad for the brain during this sensitive period, making children more likely to develop attention problems in the future. (See next page.)
Is my child smiling and engaged?
Looking away frequently or seeming unduly transfixed are both signs that content may be unsuitable for your child.
Many parents find that high-quality educational TV programs complement interactions with their children and facilitate learning. Baby Signing Time and Your Baby Can Read are good examples. The Your Baby Can Read DVDs show parents how to read, repeat and talk about the words their child is learning. For parents teaching sign language to their baby, Baby Signing Time's Rachel de Azevedo Coleman clearly demonstrates how to model signs - a big help and a confidence boost to parents learning sign language along with their child. The songs that accompany the show are fun, catchy and masterfully written, with babies' (and parents') enjoyment of the DVDs increasing as they get to know the music.
Discounts on Baby Signing Time and Signing Time DVDs, as well as other high-quality educational DVDs, are available from the Loyalty Points Redemption Center section of BrillKids.