“Can I watch TV with my baby in the room?” is a question parents often ask. Having a baby is a full-time job. It requires a lot of time and energy. With so many responsibilities, parents often find themselves multi-tasking, like watching TV and looking after their child at the same time. In this article, we will talk about whether it’s healthy to watch TV in your baby’s presence, and ways to manage these situations.
The Effects of Watching TV Around a Baby
Here is a list of negative effects of watching TV around a baby:
It Can Affect Brain Development
There has been evidence that background TV can affect a child’s brain development. According to research conducted by the University of Iowa, having the television on while children are playing or doing other activities can distract them from focusing and affect their cognitive capabilities in the long run. Keep in mind that children’s brains are not fully developed yet and many of our actions can actually inhibit or alter their natural growth.
It Can Reduce Children’s Language Learning Capabilities
Background TV noise can actually reduce language learning capabilities. You might think your child can acquire language skills by hearing people talk on TV. But since the conversations that appear on TV are not active conversations, it can’t help them in this regard. On the contrary, when children hear in-person conversations, they witness factors such as facial expressions, gestures, and tone. These help them interpret what they’re hearing.
It Can Expose Children to Inappropriate Content
Children can collect data from their surroundings well before birth. In a research conducted at the University of Florida, a number of pregnant women were asked to repeat a nursery rhyme twice a day from their 28th to 38th weeks of pregnancy. Then, they monitored the fetuses’ heart rates only to witness that they declined slightly while listening to the recording.
This shows that newborns’ — and even more so children’s — mental development can be affected negatively when you watch TV around them. Older children are affected more because as they age, they become more sensitive to what’s going on in their environment.
On top of that, children are annually exposed to about 12000 violent acts on TV. So, while you might think that your turned-on TV can be harmless, imagine how much negative impact it can have on your child’s behavior.
It Can Affect Children’s General Well-Being
Eating while watching TV has a negative impact on children’s diet quality. It increases the consumption of high-fat and high-sugar foods. It also leads to a decrease in fruit and vegetable intake. A healthy diet is essential for children’s growth, as their body is developing.
Moreover, parents are their children’s role models. Watching a lot of TV can encourage this kind of behavior in them. Too much TV can cause damage to their hearing or eyesight. It can also cause screen addiction in them. Learn more about the negative effects of TV on youth.
So, Should I Give Watching TV up Completely?
With all the negative effects that we mentioned previously, you might wonder: “How in the world can I ever watch TV around my baby?” According to The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children under 2 years old shouldn’t watch any TV. But more often than not this isn’t feasible. Here’s what you can do:
Watch TV When Your Child Isn’t Around
Preferably limit your screen time to moments when your child is asleep or with a babysitter. Don’t let them fall asleep in the middle of the living room, as the TV noise can disturb their sleep. You can also put a TV in your bedroom to watch after curfew.
Watch Useful Content
Kids are curious creatures. You might not get a moment to yourself, as your child is always around. In this case, instead of watching soap operas or TV shows with explicit scenes and language, you can watch TV shows that would benefit your kid. Educational shows or age-appropriate music are good choices. Shows with too much screaming and colors are better to be avoided. However, this solution is only applicable if you just want the TV to make noise while you do some chores.
They might like to do their homework in the living room to be aware of everything that’s going on. By dedicating a special area of the house to studying, you can get some time to yourself to watch TV or do whatever you like. Plus, it will help them focus on their homework better and not get distracted.
In the age of technology, leaving your child alone to do their homework can make you worried that they will get busy with their phone and will not get any work done. Well, never letting them out of sight is not the answer to this problem. As the saying goes, modern problems require modern solutions: You can use parental control apps to limit your child’s access to certain apps or keep track of their online activity during their study hours. All of this, along with a lot of other features, is provided in the Safes parental control app. This solution is affordable and will save you a lot of trouble.
In this article, we provided an answer to this parents’ very common question: “Can I watch TV with my baby in the room?” To sum up, you better not. But if you have to, try to manage it to minimize its negative effects.