Your Baby and Television


Don't count on TV's hypnotic powers to keep your crawler or toddler safe. Your child still needs supervision, even if she seems entranced by a particular show. Make sure the TV's in a child-safe room, that all stairs are blocked off, and that you can see your baby from where you will be.

The amount of television your baby watches, and the content of the programs, shouldn't be an issue until the end of the first year or even later. Until about 9 or 10 months, your baby sees TV programs as nothing more than a blur of flashing lights and colors. With most shows, even children's shows, the images change too often to permit your baby to focus. (Some infants do find this blur somewhat hypnotic, but most find it boring.) Even after your baby develops some interest in TV, it probably won't sustain her interest for very long. After all, your child still has an extremely short attention span.

Undeniably, sitting your baby down in front of the TV can be very useful at times. When you need to make dinner, for instance, and your crawler or toddler would otherwise be wrapped around your ankles as you try to carry a pot of boiling pasta to the sink, TV may seem like an appealing option.

It's not that watching TV is such a bad thing to do. But your baby could be doing so many other things, things she won't be doing while watching TV. So when TV does become a viable option, try to limit viewing time. Just as important (if not more important), limit your baby's viewing choices. In general, stick with public television, shows on Nickelodeon or The Learning Channel, and well-chosen videotapes. Almost all of these choices permit commercial-free viewing of non-violent, somewhat educational programming.

More on: Babies

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Bringing Up Baby © 1997 by Kevin Osborn. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


8 Epic Emoji-Themed Crafts, Activities & Recipes
Check out the best emoji crafts, activities, and recipes! They're perfect for an emoji-themed birthday party or anytime you need DIY (and screen-free!) summer activities for kids, tweens, and teens.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme!

10 Free Summer Learning Worksheets
Print these free printables for preschoolers and kindergarteners to help your child's mind stay sharp until September!

Ready for Kindergarten?
Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks