The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) just released a report that says plopping children under two in front of a television screen is a no-no.
Not shocking, but a little surprising.
Being a mom of a 14-month-old I’m very conscious about how much ‘screen time’ is around Chloé. That also includes a show I may be watching. Mainly because, I don’t want the TV to preoccupy her, or always be a constant. I don’t want her to grow up feeling that she can’t play or do arts and crafts without it on. Even if it’s for background noise.
In a recent survey, 90 percent of parents said their children under age 2 watch some form of electronic media. On average, children this age watch televised programs one to two hours per day.
I can agree that my little Chloé probably watches that much. Definitely not two hours, but at least one hour total.
I’m not super comfortable with the idea of having a television entertain her, but there are times when I need to use it as a babysitter, as bad as it sounds.
For instance, when I’m making dinner and I can’t have her running around the kitchen. I’ll put her in the exersaucer and let her watch a quick pre-taped PBS show. She enjoys it, and I get to finish dinner quicker.
Another instance, when she wakes up, she likes to eat her Cheerios and watch Sesame Street or Curious George. It’s kind of become a routine.
Thankfully nothing holds her attention too long at this age, so I don’t have to worry just yet about her loving TV. But, the thought of it being bad for her does always stick in the back of my mind.
Does that make me a bad mom for still doing it? So, what’s a working mama to do?
The report recommends that parents and caregivers:
– Set media limits for their children before age 2, bearing in mind that the AAP discourages media use for this age group. Have a strategy for managing electronic media if they choose to engage their children with it.
– Instead of screens, opt for supervised independent play for infants and young children during times that a parent cannot sit down and actively engage in play with the child. For example, have the child play with nesting cups on the floor nearby while a parent prepares dinner.
– Avoid placing a television set in the child’s bedroom.
– Recognize that their own media use can have a negative effect on children.
According Dr. Brown, a member of the AAP Council on Communications and Media, “In today’s ‘achievement culture,’ the best thing you can do for your young child is to give her a chance to have unstructured play—both with you and independently. Children need this in order to figure out how the world works.”
The question now is, how realistic is this for parents?