Screen Time

>> 10.04.2012

I've mentioned before that while I work in the mornings, I sneak in an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba. Well, Ada does. It's a little over 20 minutes long, which -- at least to me -- doesn't seem like a big deal. When Ada started cruising around, keeping up with her at-all-times got overwhelming. The TV time is helpful, even if I only get one deal posted for my job.

Yet, when I mentioned this practice to our doctor at Ada's 9-month checkup (she brought up TV time), she didn't have the same "no biggie" reaction. She didn't freak out either. Instead, she said one episode is fine, but warned us against adding any additional television time each day.

When I asked my mom, she told me I watched my fair share of TV as a baby. It's how she got stuff done. Just like what I'm attempting to do. But back then, there weren't the same guidelines set by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Their current stance:

"Until more research is done about the effects of screen time on very young children, the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly discourages television viewing for children ages two years old or younger, and encourages interactive play." (Source)

When the New York Times covered the new regulations a year ago, they cited that "in one survey, 90 percent of parents said their children under 2 watched some from of media, whether a TV show like “Yo Gabba Gabba!” or a favorite iPhone app."

"Screen time" can mean so many things these days. TV, yes. But iPhones, iPads, computers, etc. Everything seems to have a screen. I don't have the TV on much during the day, but I'm on a computer often. When Ada gets fussy in the late afternoon, I have been known to cue up some Fisher Price apps on the iPad if the weather is funky and trekking to the park isn't going to work out.

Or. GASP. Sometimes I start up another short episode of children's programming.

Does this make me a bad mother? I certainly hope not. I spend the majority of my day engaging Ada when she's awake. Playing with toys. Digging around in her rice box. Taking her outdoors and to the park. Laughing at the cats.

Really, staying at home with an infant sounds awesome, but can be incredibly exhausting.

The way I interpret the AAP's guidelines is that you can't park your baby in front of the TV or computer all day. Of course I would never do that! But I'm wondering what you all think.

Do you practice zero screen time in your own households?
Is this one of those cases where it's easier said than in practice?

I think it's ironic I choose to write about this topic on Thursday, which is our big TV night of the week. Up All Night, Grey's Anatomy, and then we try to get The Office to replay on demand. Don't worry. Ada's been asleep for over an hour!

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