Baby vs. Television

Since becoming a SAHM I find myself watching (way) more television than I ever have in my life.  I’m talking like I can finish an entire season within two days while still watching other shows at night with Neil.  This is a bad habit and not one that I want Edith to get used to.

When Edith was younger she didn’t seem to really notice the TV and so although Neil and I said we would limit our TV watching from the start we let this slide and didn’t really think much of it when I spent 8 hours/day on the couch nursing and watching Private Practice.  Over time Edith has really started to notice the TV and if it is on she will watch it, even if all that is on the screen is the bouncing Roku logo.

However, last week things went from her just watching if she was facing the TV to her craning her neck to see the TV when you had her faced away from it.  This is when we decided that we could no longer get away with watching TV while she is awake.  We stopped watching TV during the day cold turkey and honestly it wasn’t as challenging as I thought it would be. Okay, I should be forthcoming about it and say that we are not super strict about absolutely no TV while she is awake but we have cut down by about 90% (so 1-2 episodes of a show per day while she is nursing).

So you might be asking yourself- why do you care if she watches the TV? Well we don’t want Edith to become a baby zombie.  We also don’t want her to become dependent on the TV for entertainment as she gets older.  On top of that

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no television time for toddlers younger than 2, in large part because no studies have yet established that TV exposure improves babies’ learning. Read more.

Other Reasons:

  • Watching too much TV has been said to impair development of language and motor skills in infants and toddlers.
  • We want Edith to be more interested in books, nature, art, music and sports than television (or computers or smartphones).
  • There is no benefit to her watching TV.
  • We, the adults, also don’t need to watch as much TV as we do.
  • We want Edith to plaster photos of Ira Glass on her walls instead of the Jersey Shore cast.

What we aren’t saying:

  • We are NOT saying TV is bad, hell we LOVE our shows.
  • We are NOT saying that E will never watch TV but at this age she really has no need to.
  • Also we are not saying she can’t post photos of the Jersey Shore cast on her wall if that’s what she really wants but we are hoping that by surrounding her with music, NPR, books and nature that she will be more interested in Ira than Snooki.



  1. Kar

    Our 4 month old loves tv, too. We try to turn it off but sometimes it’s on and she watches and that’s the way it is. I entertain her all day. I hope an hour of tv a day doesn’t cause any permanent damage!

    • I hear you on that! It happens around here too. What has changed though is the 8 hours/day I was guilty of having the tv on as background noise. Now during the day I try to have it off, sometimes a show will sneak in there while she is nursing or sleeping. Honestly the tv turn off was just as much for the adult benefit as it was for baby.

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