Friday, October 16, 2009

Young Children and Television

Like many new moms, but not all, when pregnant or even once baby arrives, say that they will not expose their little ones to television, especially since the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against this activity for children under the age of two.

Well, I have to admit, I was this mom too. I was pretty certain that this was the approach we were going to take, but then some circumstances changed our decision and led us to earlier than planned television watching by Sarah.

Around 10 or 11 months of age Sarah got her first bout of colds and viruses, which led to us needing to use a nebulizer. After trying just about everything we could think of to calm her, including, amongst other things, her already established comforts, educational DVDs helped to distract her while she needed this important medical treatment.

When we did use television for these distractions we first tried shows like Sesame Street, Curious George and Dora The Explorer. While they were fun to watch, some bringing back childhood memories for me, all I saw was Sarah staring at the television blankly and not with much interest. In fact, she lost interest quickly.

So, instead, we decided to consider educational DVDs, and chose Your Baby Can Read!

I succumbed to the impressive (and yes, I know staged) infomercials, and also saw first-hand how incredibly responsive my niece was reacting to these DVDs. So, I plunked down a ridiculous amount of money that I questioned immediately following the purchase. Boy, I wished I could have found these at consignment or Good Will. However, I will say this, since Sarah began watching these DVDs her vocabulary has grown exponentially and so has her interest level. She loves talking with the kids on the DVD and is often incredibly excited to watch and learn when it comes on. Now she squeaks and squeals at the animals and new words and sounds she is learning.

I still stand firm on the belief that it's better not to expose children to television at this young age and to, of course, maintain a limited number of watching hours as they grow. However, should circumstances put you in a situation where you need to consider television as a distraction, choose wisely.

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