Philips Sonicare

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.

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 Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks


Healthy Smile Checklist for Kids
Have better dental check-ups with this free printable checklist that helps keep your child flossing, brushing, and smiling! Brought to you by Philips Sonicare.

Kindergarten Readiness App
It's kindergarten registration time! Use this interactive kindergarten readiness checklist, complete with fun games and activities, to practice the essential skills your child needs for this next big step. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

8 Easter Egg Decorating Ideas
Need some fun ideas for decorating Easter eggs with the kids? Look no further for colorful and cool designs!

7 Ways to Curb Kids' Exposure to Violence
American children are exposed to violence more often than you might think. Learn how to limit your child's exposure to violence and manage the mental health and behavioral effects it can cause.