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Say No to Television for Baby

Updated on March 27, 2012

Say no to television, Yes to books.

My daughter will be 16 months old at the end of this month and she has yet to watch television. It is one of the best decisions my husband and I made. If you are the parent of a baby or young child you've probably read the research about babies and television. If you haven't, here is a short outline:

  • Babies younger than two years old should not watch television. It effects their brain development. The constant and rapid changing images effect their ability to concentrate and are linked to ADHD (ADD).
  • Your child's early years are a time of growth not only physically but mentally as well. Time spent in front of the television is lost time that could be spent reading a book, learning a new experience or exploring their world.
  • Getting your child in the habit of sitting in front of the television set could lead to childhood obesity, poor social skills/development, as well as a lack of creativity.

While it may be easier to use the television as a baby sitter so you can get some chores done or have a moment, it isn't worth the damage it could do to your child's development. There has been many an occasion when I thought if I just turn the television on for her I can get the laundry folded or dishes washed. I do not however give in realizing that I can do those chores later when she is napping or in the evening when she is in bed for the night. If I really need a time out I let her take all of her clothes out of her drawer or out of her hamper. She loves taking the clothes out and putting them back in. That gives me 10-15 minutes to brush my teeth and get dressed or have a cup of tea.

There are many other activies your child can do to amuse him/herself. Some of my daughter's other favorites are playing with tupperware, flipping through magazines and ripping the pages (she likes the sound it makes), and of course playing with her toys to name just a few. While your child should be supervised at all times, I find that these activies when done in the same room as I am in allow me to do some tidying up without her needing my full attention.

One of her favorite activities which she does need my full attention for is reading books. She has many books and we sometimes sit for 30 minutes reading them (some of them more than once). At almost 16 months old she has memorized a good deal of the books. I don't mean the whole book of course but if I read a line she can finish the sentence. All of this reading has given her a large vocabulary. Some of my friends have mentioned that their same age children use one word for many objects. For example ball is meant for ball, banana, the dog etc... My daughter uses the correct word for each of these objects and more. If she doesn't know what something is she will point to it. I tell her what it is and for the most part she remembers it for next time. She is also already able (and has been for at least a month now) to put together two and now just starting with three word phrases. She is amazing (at least to me) and I contribute her large vocabulary to no television and more books.

I've been given a hard time by family and friends when I ask them to turn off the television when we are over. They say things like 'you watched television as a child and you turned out just fine'. My reply to them is, imagine how much better I could have turned out! I also get strange looks when parents of similar age children ask me what is my daughter's favorite television show or who is her favorite character. I simply explain that she doesn't watch television and won't until she is at least two and then it will be very limited.

I've linked some of my daughters favorite books. I hope they will be enjoyed by your child as well!

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    • rdown profile image
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      rdown 5 years ago from Usa

      Thanks Natashalh. It really does make an impact on development!

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Yes!! I was raised without TV and lots of reading. Voted awesome!

    • rdown profile image
      Author

      rdown 5 years ago from Usa

      Hi lyndre. As a biased mother I think my daughter is above average as well. haha! Agree the more time you spend talking and playing the more they pick up which leads to better development and social skills.

    • rdown profile image
      Author

      rdown 5 years ago from Usa

      Hi Lisa HW. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I totally agree.

    • lyndre profile image

      lyndre 5 years ago from Scotland

      In total agreement.My grandson is 16 months old and is a read a book everynight at bedtime. His memory of words and objects is in my opinion as a biased grandad lol is above averadge for someone of his age.

      The more time you spend talking and playing with a young child helps their development tv is an easy optout.

    • Lisa HW profile image

      Lisa HW 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      I'd agree about television for babies/toddlers two and under. Way back when my own (now grown) kids were babies, my big concern was that for every minute a baby is put in front of a television, that's a minute his brain spends not relating to another human being (and maybe learning to "tune out" what's going on around him). I don't think anyone wants their baby's brain to "practice" tuning out.