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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Developmental News

I wanted to share with you some very important articles I've come across or been told about lately. The first is about tummy time. Tummy time is so important to your baby's development. Babies learn to push up, roll over, and crawl when given tummy time. Crawling is really important in cross-lateral development, important in learning and other physical development later on. Crawling is so important that my pediatrician recommends that babies crawl for 3-4 months before they switch to walking. This brief video clip and article give tips on getting in 40 minutes of tummy time a day.

The second article I read was about the danger of TV background noise. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that until the age of 2 babies do not watch TV yet so many parents keep it on throughout the day. Even kids older than 2 should only be exposed to 2 hours of screen time each day, this total includes video games, TV, computer, and electronic handheld screens. This article touches on the importance of eliminating background TV when children are playing. The article is really short and doesn't even come close to stressing how damaging excessive TV watching can be to babies and kids. I read recently that one downfall to TV is that it forces the viewer to look in one place for too long when our brains are programmed to look side to side and take in our surroundings. Another thing I like to point out after I had one mom tell me, "I don't feel like talking to my baby all day, so I keep the TV on so he'll be exposed to language." This is a terrible idea, first of all because babies DO NOT learn language as well from telelvision as they do from regular conversation and second because babies should not hear your voice ALL day, it's too much for them. They need quiet, down time just like we do and too much can cause stimulation overload and lead to a very fussy, cranky baby. The bottom line is that TV viewing changes the way our children's brains work. We weren't designed to sit still and watch TV all day, it's unhealthy. Keep your kids active, keep the TV off when they're playing, and try to stick to the AAP's recommendations for TV watching and screen time.

The Fine Print: I'm not a perfect mom, my son watches his fair share of TV. I let him watch a half hour of Baby Signing Time when he was under 2. Unless your home is TV-free it's hard to not use it to entertain kids! Just keep it in check, there's got to be a balance of everything.


Christine said...

Thanks for the developmental update. As you know, we were completely without TV for a couple of years and while that was probably a little bit extreme for the culture that we live in, I definitely noticed some benefits. The kids were much more creative with their time (not always a good thing for the walls or the carpet) and they took a lot of pleasure in reading. While there are a lot of things that kids can learn from computer games and some shows, I agree with the experts, limited screen time is best. Thanks again for sharing.

kelly said...

Great information and thanks so much for sharing! Right now, we only have a 20 month old, and we keep t.v. pretty limited (only when I am taking a shower and when I cook). Even during those times, he doesn't always tune in, so sometimes I feel like I should probably just turn it off. I am beginning to think ahead to when we have a second child. I am estimating that my son will then be around 3. How do you control t.v. around an infant when you have an older child? Any thoughts?

kidshaus said...

I appreciate your post about this topic! It's really something that I've gotten particular about in the last several years. I try to limit tv time to 1 hour for our 6 year old daughter. some days we have zero tv and on weekends we'll throw a movie on with popcorn. My 2 year old doesn't even pay attention to tv (thankfully) -- even if i forced her, i don't think she'd care (yet). The minimal tv has just taught them to read more and play in their room -- there's more creative play by themselves and with each other. It sometimes takes a little extra effort to set them up with a project but it's so much more rewarding for everyone when they're not zombies. when my daughter watches more than an hour, she is usually grumpy right after the tv is turned off -- no fun! we're a tv culture, so it's just a matter of reprogramming our habits. thanks again!