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Should Babies and Toddlers Watch Television?

By Elizabeth Pantley, author of Gentle Baby Care and Kid Cooperation

So much television programming is aimed at young children. Much of it appears to be educational: teaching the ABCs and life skills. When is it appropriate to introduce a baby to television, and what do parents need to know about this topic?

A great deal of research has been done on the effects of television on childrenís lives. The first step in making the decision is to get the facts. Because nearly all of us have one or more TV sets in our home, and since most of us watch some TV nearly every day, we may not want to hear what research tells us, but these are things parents need to know.

You may have noticed that all of these points demonstrate the negative aspects of letting babies and toddlers watch TV, and youíre wondering if there are any positives. There are a few, but Iíll be honest: I had to be very creative to come up with this list, since published research doesnít demonstrate many good points for putting a young child in front of a television. But we need to be realistic and acknowledge that most of us arenít going to put our TVs in the closet until all of our children start school. Here are some of the good points of television for children:

TV watching tips for parents of babies and young children

The following tips may help you minimize the negative and maximize the positive effects of television watching for your little one:

This article is a copyrighted excerpt from Gentle Baby Care by Elizabeth Pantley. (McGraw-Hill, 2003)

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