Angela Chee: We've heard the warnings before, "TV is bad for babies." For the last decade, the American Academy of Pediatrics has advised against any TV for children under 3, some even warn that TV exposure has been associated with attention problems, obesity and sleep problems.
Who wants that for our children? So when I heard that, off with the TV. Which was hard, because I love TV.
I work in television. Before I had a baby, it was my daily companion, on every morning even if it was just in the background. Even as a child, I couldn't wait for Saturday morning cartoons. But now as a mom, the rule in my house is no TV if the baby is around. Hypocritical, I know.
This is hard to pull off. Sometimes I just turn it on for a few minutes and my baby is drawn to it like a magnet ... he's riveted by the flashing screen. Then the guilt sets in. So for his own good, I turn it off -- reluctantly.
And what about all those "educational" videos? I have some in my closet that I'm tempted to open. Do they work? Some moms swear by them. In our quest to make our babies smarter are we being brainwashed by marketing? The answer may be yes.
According to a new study published in this month's journal Pediatrics you are probably wasting your money, but the good news -- TV may not be "that" bad. Harvard researchers studied 872 children on a regular basis from birth up to age 3. The study shows that the children who watched educational TV were no more adept in vocabulary or visual and motor ability tests than those who had not.
So the bottom line, the study showed these videos may not make our babies smarter, but a little TV is also not detrimental.
So I know, it's not an excuse to use the magical flashing box as a babysitter, but maybe I'll start to lighten up a bit.
|Angela Chee is a television host, voice-over artist and creator of TheZenMom.com as a resource for other moms because motherhood isn't always so zen. She is a first time mom.|