Some parents believe watching screens can be educational, while others use screens for entertainment or as electronic babysitters. However, media usage keeps babies from being active and playing. It may also interfere with your baby’s sleep.
What are the guidelines?
Health departments in the US, Canada, and Australia all recommend limited or no television for children under two years of age. Surprisingly, research suggests that parents may not be aware of these recommendations. In one particular study:
- 90% of parents mistakenly allowed their children under two to watch television or use other electronic devices
- some of these children were watching screens for two hours or longer every day
- 40% of three-month-olds were regularly watching videos or television
Simple, active play is far more beneficial than screen time for your baby, from her very first days and weeks. You don’t need expensive toys or equipment to encourage your baby to be active. Make time for brief periods of play and interaction with your baby each day.
Cespedes EM, Gillman MW, Kleinman K et al. Television viewing, bedroom television, and sleep duration from infancy to mid-childhood. Pediatrics 2014; 133(5):e1163-71.
Vaala S, Hornik R. Predicting US infants’ and toddlers’ TV/video viewing rates: Mothers’ cognitions and structural life circumstances. J Child Media 2014; 8(2):163-82.
Zimmerman FJ, Christakis DA, Meltzoff AN. Television and DVD/video viewing in children younger than 2 years. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2007; 161(5):473-9.