Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Television for kiddos

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you might remember my post from May with an article about children and television, and now I'm going to write about that same topic again.

Disney is offering a customer satisfaction rebate on Baby Einstein DVDs right now until March 10.

Here's a link to the rebate information if you're curious: Rebate
You can mail in up to 4 Baby Einstein DVDs and exchange for Baby Einstein books or CDs, exchange for a 25% off coupon at the Disney Store online, or exchange for a $15.99 refund. You don't have to still have your receipt.

Here are two articles about it: Yahoo News and New York Times

From what I'm gathering, Disney is offering these refunds or exchanges because of the educational aspect believed for their products. Apparently after a lawsuit a few years ago, they removed any propaganda saying Baby Einstein would make your baby smarter and that it was educational, but a lot of people still believe that it will make their babies smarter. When studies are actually showing the opposite: that too much television time can give your baby attention problems.

So, now I'm curious. Does television only cause attention problems when the baby/toddler watches hour upon hour of television by himself without parental interaction? Or is it even bad when Jill sits on my lap, and she and I watch Your Baby Can Read together? We do it about four times a week for 20 minutes. Is that much bad? Or people who have their babies watch just one show while they take a shower or make dinner?

I guess I want to know how much is bad. Does anyone know of any studies that talk about that? I definitely don't want to do anything that will give Jill attention problems later on.

I've been amazed recently by how many children these days do have attention problems. I wonder if it is because of television. You know? How many kids had ADD or ADHD when our grandparents were kids? Or did they have it and were just undiagnosed? I don't know.

Jill watches some TV just because Jeff and I are watching it, and she gets attracted by the sounds and colors (I can only assume).

So, my point of this post is not to say Baby Einstein is evil. I don't think it is, and I think with moderation, it can be a tool for babies and parents to learn things like shapes and listen to classical music. But I do feel sad for parents who thought it was going to turn their babies into geniuses.

So how much TV do your kids get/did they get at different ages? How much did you watch when you were younger?

I don't even know how much I watched when I was that little. I know how much I watched when I was like 5 or 6, because I remember, but younger than that I have no memory. So, Mom, Dad, sibs . . . haha if you remember, let me know, because I turned out fine and I'm curious. ;)

I remember getting to watch Reading Rainbow, Mr. Rogers, DuckTales, and Full House. I remember the family would also watch Star Wars together. I don't really think I watched Sesame Street or Lamb Chops, but I could be wrong, because I was little.


  1. From what I have read, if you are interacting with your baby while watching some show it can be beneficial (I went on the baby einstein website a while ago and they said the baby is not just supposed to sit there but the parent is supposed to interact and talk with them). In our home, Troy and I watch TV often and so Bryn will watch as well, again, I think she just likes the colors and sounds.

    ANd for the ADD/ADHD, from discussions I had in college (Eduction Major) and also my personal belief from experience is that it is the most misdiagnosed disorder out there. Often times kids are labeled as that so quickly and it usually isn't the case. You need to look at less recess and free play time and more structed just lecture time (I would act out too!). My siblings and I watched TV a lot, and I know some kids who don't and others who do, and I don't see many differences. Wow, this was a long post! I guess, if you are taking time to interact with your baby, you are just fine! Haha sorry that was so much, I have a lot to say!

  2. So a large percentage of the kids "diagnosed" with ADD or ADHD are misdiagnosed because teachers/parents don't have the patience, energy, or know how to deal with kids that have energy. Kids have always had energy, and they always will... but it's easier to give them prescription drugs. (This is not true in all cases, but there is a growing number of kids that are on drugs without actual medical rational for it.) Doctors are eager to prescribe because the pharmaceutical companies love it... getting rich off kids.

  3. I think as long as you are still interacting with her, you're fine.

    Ryan doesn't seem to have the attention span for TV. Does that mean he is super ADD? Some times I wish he would be more interested in TV, but oh well.

  4. i love anything disney does. they have a way of doing it so perfectly and magically.
    we were hardly ever allowed to watch tv when i was little- maybe a show a day- if that. my parents were pretty strict. but my bro dave had add and i'm pretty sure i have it to some degree.
    andrew isn't to the point where he really cares for tv. but nick might watch spongebob everyday right after school.
    lilly watches a movie at nap time every day since she only actually sleeps about half the time- so maybe 2 to 3 hours. during the day i'd say the tv is on like half the time but no one really watches it- andrew says he wants to watch blues clues then goes upstairs. lilly says she wants to watch a movie but then she's hungry.
    i'm not really opinionated one way or the other. i know i am a good mom and i have plenty of one on one time with all 3 kids which i believe is the most important thing.

  5. I watched TV as a kid. I don't know how much, though. I think that the excess of ADD is part of a lot of things (and here is where I can get controversial!) I think mothers not breastfeeding leads to poor health and allergies. Which goes along poorly with the horrendous diet that Americans have adopted. Behavioral issues have been linked to allergic reactions to the food dye Red 40! Then, I think mothers that don't stay home or aren't attached to their kids help to propel behavior problems forward. Sitting your kid in front of the TV can be bad, I'm sure, just from the shows. But more importantly, mom isn't paying attention.

    Of course, I think if you have your kids watch TV so you can get something done that was needed, I don't think that is as bad, because it isn't constant or habitual. (I do it.) Maybe I should do a post on this myself! lol

  6. What I remember; when we started our family most of our young marrieds friends were very negative on TV and there was a lot of talk that the children's PBS programs of our youth "Sesame Street" and "The Muppets" had not lived up to the hype that their programming would be super helpful to economically challenged kids.

    Vickie and I did not own a TV and we talked about not getting one. My folks thought this a very odd attitude and ended the subject by giving us a TV. Our response was to place it in the basement. Eventually it would come upstairs to the den where you could sit on a couch.

    I'm pretty sure the only TV that Peter saw was Saturday morning cartoons and the same probably carried through to Amy. By the time Mimi came along the VCR had arrived, however children's videos were few, expensive and we did not purchase them while any of you kids were little.

    The first seriously heavy TV watching of any of our kids to my memory would go to Mimi and musicals but she was deep into elementary school by the time that hit. She memorized "Hello Dolly" and others.

    History repeats, "Baby Enstein" to do wonders just like years ago "Sesame Street" was going to make such a difference. Then a backlash that the programs are hurting kids causing them attention problems.

    It is sort of amazing that thirty years later were worrying about the same stuff.


What's on your mind?