TV Won’t Make Baby Smart

I read today about a study by the University of Washington that found that the videos marketed by Baby Einstein, Brainy Baby and other producers of videos for infants may not make them smarter and could even have the opposite effect. The videos could actually slow language development, the study revealed.

The report, concluded that for every hour children spent watching those programs, they understood an average of six to eight fewer words than infants who didn’t watch them.

The babies exposed to the videos also got scores on language skills tests that were 17 percent lower than those of the babies who weren’t.

We committed long ago to not let Trey watch TV until he is at least 2 years old. This sounds quite extreme but it is actually the recommended practice by the American Pediatrics Association.American Pediatrics Association Logo Here are some of their recommendations to parents:

  1. Limit children’s total media time (with entertainment media) to no more than 1 to 2 hours of quality programming per day.
  2. Remove television sets from children’s bedrooms.
  3. Discourage television viewing for children younger than 2 years, and encourage more interactive activities that will promote proper brain development, such as talking, playing, singing, and reading together.
  4. Monitor the shows children and adolescents are viewing. Most programs should be informational, educational, and nonviolent.
  5. View television programs along with children, and discuss the content. Two recent surveys involving a total of nearly 1500 parents found that less than half of parents reported always watching television with their children.
  6. Encourage alternative entertainment for children, including reading, athletics, hobbies, and creative play.

I think every single one of those recommendations makes perfect sense. We don’t watch that much TV (Netflix rules!) and what we do watch is after 7pm at night. I guess that makes keeping Trey away from TV a lot easier.

I will confess that I do pull up this video on the laptop every so often to watch with Trey. He loves it when I sing along and tickle him.

3 thoughts on “TV Won’t Make Baby Smart

  1. barbara

    Ah yes, television. I love that the APA has to actually spell out that reading to your children and singing to them is more beneficial to your child than sitting them in front of the boob tube. I am a child of the 80’s and definitely love my t.v. don’t get me wrong but there is something to be said about moderation. I think you both have a great goal to wait until Trey is 2. That being said, Sanne is an avid watcher of the Menomena muppets but honestly, how could I deprive her?!

  2. Lauren Threadgill

    Yes, tv won’t make baby smart, but tv will keep Mama sane on days when baby is teething or just plain old in a bad mood. I’m actually really glad you posted this, because I saw a blurb about it to be on the evening news, and then I missed it. Pretty ironic considering what Baby Einstein claims to do for kids. Still though, it’s like magic, and some days we all need it. :o)

  3. Anna

    Amazing isn’t it? You actually have to tell parents “you are better at teaching your children than tv is!” My daughters are 3 and 16 months, the only tv allowed is watched by the entire family. We have the complete collection of Baby Einstein DVDs because the music is soothing and they are great to watch with your kids. The keyword is WITH! Having said that, at most the tv watching is kept at a 30-60 min max a day. There are far better things to do!

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