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Baby Watching TV: Is It Good Or Bad & Their Effects?

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baby watching tv

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As a parent, if you ever find your baby Watching TV, your first instinct would be to shut it down. However, nowadays, many parents are using TV as an occasional break to keep their children entertained or occupied while they finish their work. 

While as parents, you may consider it to be okay, experts recommend that there should be limited screen time for toddlers and older kids. You should entirely refrain from letting your baby watch TV or any screen. As parents, you should learn whether baby Watching TV is good or bad for their health.

The article acts as a complete guide on the effects of a baby watching TV

What Are The Effects Of A Baby Watching TV?

If you ever find your baby watching TV (supervised or unsupervised), you should consider moving them away from the screen. A recent survey by the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that almost 92.2% of children know how to use a mobile phone by the time they’re one year old. The survey also covered that many babies start using a screen when they turn four months. 

While it is understandable that being a parent is no easy job, they should consider learning whether a baby watching TV is good or bad for their overall development. It must be noted, however, that all studies conducted for watching TV or screens have been conducted on older children and not infants. Therefore, there is very limited to no research surrounding the impact of TV watching on babies. 

Based on the research findings conducted with school-age kids, toddlers, and preschoolers, there are references on how screen time can affect babies.

The impact of baby watching TV include:

1. Affect The Brain Development

During early baby years, a child can observe and learn new things. However, if they spend most of their time watching TV or any screen, it will affect their brain development and growth. 

According to AAP guidelines, children aged three to five years should consider watching TV one hour a day. A 2019 study was conducted on kids of the same age who watched TV more than the recommended timeline. 

The results showed that kids who watched TV for more than an hour per day have low microstructural organization and brain white matter that is responsible for supporting the development of language and literacy skills. It also hurt the cognitive development assessment of the child. 

2. Have A Negative Impact On Sleep

Growing babies need sleep for proper development- mental as well as physical. However, being exposed to media for long hours could eventually have a negative impact on their sleep per night. 

A study by AAP also suggests that kids who watch TV mainly during the evening tend to have less sleep time than those who have no screen exposure during the evening.

3. Cause Expressive Language And Speech Delays

Babies can learn new words and language when active participation from their parents or caregiver. On the other hand, TV only leads to the child learning everything passively. 

A child can grasp the concept faster and efficiently with active involvement rather than passive involvement. Moreover, when TV is on in the background, parents would naturally tend to converse significantly less with their children. 

The less you interact with the child; the more the delay in their development will be. Parents should watch their babies watching TV and consider talking to them actively to promote speech development. 

4. Negative Behavior

Children growing up watching TV are likely to have negative behavior. Since too much TV alters brain structure from a very young age, it can develop negative behavior. 

This can eventually prove to be a health risk for the child. It is necessary to implement every process accordingly and watch how they are behaving. Kids becoming negative from a young age are likely to grow irritated and annoyed. Therefore, parents should consider preventing their kids from watching TV. 

When Can Babies Watch Tv?

Ideally, parents should refrain from allowing their kids to watch TV until 18 months. 

According to the AAP guidelines, parents should allow kids to watch TV from the age of eighteen to twenty-four months, and even when they do so, they should do it together. Moreover, even when parents allow their children to watch TV, they should only watch high-quality programs. It is advisable to prevent children from watching TV alone. 

Allowing children aged 18 months to watch TV should be strictly prohibited as it could lead to eye stress.

What To Do Instead?

Once your child attains four months of age, you should consider alternative ways to keep them entertained. Encouraging your child to play with toys or learning with picture books can be one good way to keep them engaged. Apart from keeping them entertained, this will also play an important role in fostering their overall development. 

You can consider doing a small setup of a play yard that will encourage your kid to learn. It would help if you placed toys, books, and blocks on the floor to help your child learn. 

What Activities Can You Do With The Child?

There are several tips you should follow for encouraging the growth of infants. Furthermore, these activities are encouraged for kids aged between zero to three years. 

Some of the key ideas that you should follow include:

  • Encourage your child to read books with you. It is advisable to use picture books to attract your child’s attention. 
  • Play peekaboo with the child in front of a mirror. 
  • Place some safe kitchen tools such as plastic bowls and spoons on a lower kitchen shelf. While you make dinner, encourage your child to participate in the activity. 
  • Go outside to play with your child. 
  • When you go out on a walk, help them identify different vehicles. It would help if you encourage your child to learn about different cars
  • Teach them to sign language. 

Apart from mental activities, it would help if you encouraged some physical activities. The World Health Organization recommends encouraging your child to indulge in physical activities. 

Being physically active throughout the day will help in your child’s overall development. You might as well introduce a floor-based play, and you should allow them to indulge in thirty minutes of tummy time. 

It would help if you refrained from keeping the child restrained in any stroller, high chair for more than an hour.

Safety Guidelines To Follow For Your Child

Once your child is old enough to watch TV, you need to follow all the safety guidelines. This will help you determine what the child is viewing. 

Some of the safety guidelines to follow are the following:

1. Watch Television With Your Child

Whenever it is feasible, it is advisable to watch with your child. It is also necessary to talk to your child about what you are watching. 

2. Enforce a Daily Screen Time Rule

You should set a particular time when your child can watch the TV. It is advisable to follow the AAP recommendations for setting the time limit. You shouldn’t allow your child less than 18 months to watch TV. Once your child ages two to five years, you should allow them to watch TV only for an hour. 

3. Maintain Screen-Free Zones In Your House

It is crucial to keep certain zones free of the screen in your house. If you establish a playroom for your child, you should refrain from placing TV, mobile, or iPad around. It is necessary to follow the basic rules. You might as well consider consulting a child expert to get all the benefits.

4. Encourage Responsible Media Use

Kids imitate their parents. Therefore, if you spend most of your time in front of your screen, the child will likely follow the same. When you’re in your home, you should try keeping away the electronics and engage in some family work.

5. Don't Use Tv While Eating

While you’re eating, you should refrain from using any screen. Using screens while eating will encourage mindless eating that will eventually prove to be a problem in the long run. This will also lead to unnecessary calorie gain.

Baby Watching TV Final Conclusion

It would help if you encourage your child to entertain themselves from a young age, and this will help them have some unplugged time and encourage social development. 

Baby Watching TV FAQs

1) Is it okay for a 3-month-old child to watch TV?

No. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a child less than 18 months of age shouldn't watch TV or any form of screen. Little screen time can be okay, but that too under parental supervision.

2) Will TV damage the eyes of your child?

There is no scientific evidence that proves watching TV can damage your child's eyes. However, you should refrain from allowing your child to be in front of the TV for too long. Toddlers should have at least one hour of screen time every day.

3) Is it okay for babies to watch TV in the dark?

No. Parents and babies should consider resting for ten minutes for every two hours of screen time. Furthermore, watching TV in the dark should be strictly avoided as it will put pressure on your eyes.

On behalf of the editorial team at Parenthoodbliss, we follow strict reporting guidelines and only use credible sources, along with peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and highly respected health organizations. To learn about how we maintain content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

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