View Full Version : How Old Was Your Child When You Let Him/Her Start Watching TV?

04-06-2007, 04:52 PM
When I found out I was going to have a baby, I decided that I wasn't going to let her watch any TV at all for the first year - at least. Well, she's almost 6 months old now and (I hate to admit this) but I caved in. I work at home 3 days a week (in the office the other two days), and sometimes it's really difficult to get my work done, take care of DD and do other things that need to be done. I bought her two Disney sing along DVDs which she absolutely LOVES. She'll play in her excersaucer or swing and watch the 1/2 hour video. I only let her watch it once a day at the most, but I still feel guilty about plopping her in front of the TV. I've read before that it's really bad for a child's development to let them watch any TV before they're 2 years old. What do you guys think? How old were your children when you started letting them watch a little? I really hope I'm not doing DD any damage - stifling her creativity or something. Maybe I'm just paranoid because I'm a new mom...

** I thought I should add that when I'm home, (even though I work) I make time to read to DD, play with her one on one and let her listen to a variety of music. So, it's not like I neglect her all day in front of the TV so I can get work done. **

04-06-2007, 05:11 PM
I don't remember how old my DS was when I caved, but I'll tell you what my friend told me. Your sanity is more important than having a child that doesn't watch TV.

04-06-2007, 05:31 PM
For every study out there, there is another that will argue the other side. As a parent, you make judgement calls everyday, based on what works for you and your family. A little TV is not going to create a maladjusted child. It sounds like you are giving DD a great balance, and a lot of love and attention. Go with it, and don't feel guilty.

As for our family, we never found a little TV to be bad. Both kids are well adjusted, creative and goal oriented. DS 14 is on the A honor roll in HS, in honors classes, involved in sports, makes good choices in friends and behaviors. DD 8, looks at the choices DS makes, and tries to copy him. Pretty good track record if you ask me, and they both were exposed to TV as infants.

04-06-2007, 05:50 PM
Television in and of itself is not the problem. The problem is how many hours you let a child watch and not monitoring what they watch.

I don't think you are in any danger yet, just make sure you don't someday wake up and find your child spending 20 hours a day in front of the tube with you off somewhere else. But you don't sound like that kind of parent.

04-06-2007, 05:54 PM
i've always let mine. When they were little babies, I let them watch Barney so DH and I could eat a peaceful meal!! Now they are 2 and 3 and watch the Playhouse Disney shows in the morning and i let them pick a movie in the evening.

04-06-2007, 07:04 PM
My son was nine months old. It was a complete accident. My mother called and asked me to check something on a channel. I flipped by Barney with my baby on my hip, and he just immediately started bouncing to the music and "singing" along. We started watching together every day after that. Always together. I wouldn't put him down and let TV amuse him. It was great as an interactive tool.

We also watched a Disney vacation video together now and then. He said his first word a few days after that first video viewing. I was reading a Mickey Mouse book to him and he pointed to Mickey and said "Dinny!" (Disney). I think watching a little bit of TV, just the few shows and interacting with him, helped him start speaking early. Others may disagree.

04-06-2007, 08:36 PM
I think DD started watching Baby Einstein videos and Disney Channel when she was about 9 months or so.

She really got into the Wiggles and some of the older shows like PB&J Otter and Rolie Polie Ollie.

Personally, I think it's a lot more about what they watch and how much they watch than whether they watch at all or not. I mean as long as it's in balance with other things it's all good (like anything else).

I'll tell you something, I watched a ton of television when I was a kid and I turned out just fine ... just fine ... just fine ... just fine ... just fine ...................

04-06-2007, 09:29 PM
DD has been around a TV all along. When she was about 2 months old, I was watching the World Figure Skating Championships, and she was sort of fussy. I turned her so she could see the TV, and she loved it (well, at least she stopped crying!). As soon as a skater was done and the music stopped, she would start to cry again. She's always watched hockey (loved to watch them skating around when she was really small).

As for letting her watch kid's TV, we only let her watch Playhouse Disney for a very long time - no commercials! She loved Bear in the Big Blue House, The Wiggles, Book of Pooh. She still watches PD occassionally. She's now 7, is in the advanced first grade class, loves to read and do math, and loves science. Her new addition is Dirty Jobs, which I can't stand! She also likes How It's Made, because she likes to know how things are made (child of 2 engineers).

04-07-2007, 07:29 AM
Personally, I think it's a lot more about what they watch and how much they watch than whether they watch at all or not. I mean as long as it's in balance with other things it's all good (like anything else).


I don't remember exactly when Conor started watching TV but I know that we too started with the Baby Einstein video's and he just loved them. (and I give those videos credit as to why Mike and I can now recognize certain pieces of classical music! :D )

After that, it was Sesame Street and some Playhouse Disney. While Conor was a late walker, he was an early talker and could speak in full sentences before 18 months old, knew all his letters, numbers to 10 and colors - I definitely credit Sesame street with some of that! Eventually you learn that everything is a balance - there's school time, TV time, family time, outside time, activities time (cub scouts, little league, etc.) Conor is now a 1st grader in the gifted & talented program and reading at the 3rd/4th grade level - as long as we monitor the "what" and "how much", I have no issue with TV at all. :thumbsup:

04-07-2007, 09:31 AM
Well, I had twins and that first year was pretty rough. Add on top of that one of them was special needs so I had them watching Baby Einstein almost immediately in order to get the cognitive thing going. They also watched Veggie Tales and Wiggles, anything with music.

On the flip side -- real television? Hmmm.... maybe they were 2. Not sure. And then it was just Noggin and Disney Channel, and only a very limited number of shows. We got rid of TV entirely in December of 2004 (after the tsunami, too many news orgs were showing dead children), so from 3 1/2 until 5 1/2 all they had was videos. But by that age they mostly wanted to play and didn't want to watch tv more than an hour a day anyway.

04-07-2007, 01:54 PM
Well I had a brother who was 4 years old when I was born, so I think tv was often on when I was an infant. There is a video of Christmas when I was 1 year old getting a Muppet Babies Kermit doll, and some Sesame Street figurines and I knew who they were. (Well kind of. I called Grover "Grosser")
We watched Sesame Street, Charlie Brown videos, and Captain Kangaroo. I also had a lot of sing a long tapes and I remember Sesame Street tapes that were specifically created to teach ABCs and 123s.

All this being said I wasn't watching TV all day. My mom stayed at home with me until 1st grade and we were always doing stuff. My grandfathers both took me out somewhere almost every single day. So I guess this is just a long nostalgic way of saying that I agree with the majority so far. TV in moderation is fine for infants/toddlers. I am poised to graduate college with highest honors. :D

04-08-2007, 03:35 PM
With my first child, I felt exactly like you. I did not really let him watch any t.v. or videos prior to his first birthday. I spend ALL my free time playing with him, reading to him (he LOVED books) and everything else you do with babies. The few times I did turn on the t.v. to try to get him interested, he didn't pay attention to it.

Around age one, he began to like Elmo's world, but none of the rest of Sesame Street. He also was very interested in Little Einsteins, because he LOVED music.

He had a very significant expressive language delay, though. At 15 months, no words, hardly any babbling. After a long process of evaluations by early intervention, he was begun in speech therapy at 18 months of age. At 29 months of age, he was diagnosed as autistic.

What actually GOT him talking and learning words was a couple months after his little brother was born (he was 22 months at that time), we purchased a set of 20 Baby Einstein DVDs. We purchased them FOR the baby, because he was very fussy and I was desperate and had heard so many good things about those videos, so I caved. Well, they worked WONDERS for both kids. The baby would sit in his bouncer and giggle and be SO HAPPY while the videos were on. My older son was completely entranced as well. He loved the videos meant for older babies (Wordsworth, On the Go, World Animals, Baby Noah, Baby Shakespeare, etc.) His words began to flow...he soon had all his favorite DVD's memorized and learned SO MUCH from those videos. He went from 2 words (mama and duck) to over 500 within a few months, and most of the words he learned were from those videos.

I credit Baby Einstein for actually bringing my son OUT of himself and getting him interested in the outside world, where I could not do the same thing, no matter how much I tried, how much I read to him, etc. He still loves books, but he connects to things he sees outside with the things he saw in the videos. He is almost three now and knows SO MUCH more than I ever thought he would at this age. He is interested in the solar system and knows all the planets (Baby Gallileo DVD), he is fascinated by trains and cars (On the Go), knows all kinds of animals and thier habitats (Baby Noah/World Animals), etc. His major hurdle is social interaction, so at this time, we limit him t.v. watching to one hour a day, because he needs more time engaged with people, instead of fixated on the television.

My youngest just turned one and he has been a "couch potato" his whole life, where t.v. is concerned. He watches about an hour a day (just Baby Einstein and Disneyland Sing Along, though). I would have NOT survived his first year without it. My older son demands so much attention that unfortunately, I need the television to occupy the youngest at times.

All the studies make you wonder if you are doing the right thing. However, once my oldest was diagnosed autistic, I realized that certain things really are beyond your control. I was SO strict about the t.v. thing with him and I did everything "right" as far as engaging with him as a baby, reading to him to help his language develop, etc. In the end though, those things did not make a difference in how he turned out. Once I saw how much the Baby Einstein videos taught him where I had "failed", I regretted not getting them earlier for him.

My youngest son, so far has no signs that he is also autistic, which we are very grateful for. He hates books, won't let me read to him, but loves watching Baby Einstein and listening to all kinds of music. He loves to play outside and play with anyone who will give him attention. He is extremely social, plays cooperatively, and is already beginning to talk. So, even though he has spent a good deal of his time in front of the t.v., it has all been educational, soothing stuff. I don't allow the television to just be on in the background during the day.

I think a little t.v. can be a good thing, as long as it's age appropriate stuff. I don't like commercials and stuff like news or talk shows. My kids won't get anything useful out of that stuff.

04-14-2007, 11:11 PM
Wow, Natalie thank you SO much for relating your experience. My DD LOVES the Baby Einstein CDs, but I haven't gotten her any of the DVDs yet. I think I'll probably get a few of them and see how she likes them. I definitely agree that if you let your children watch TV at a young age, it should be age appropriate. Whenever I leave DD home with her grandma or 'auntie' I let them know that she's only allowed to watch the one DVD and nothing else. I know how smart kids are - even babies...they pick up SO much. I don't want her even listening to most of what's on TV nowadays. Anyway, thanks again for the tips everyone!! I'm going to get her some Baby Einstein DVDs tomorrow and see how she likes them.