Will educational videos and TV programs make my baby smarter?
By Michael Castleman for Live Right Live Well
Sorry, but “television viewing in infancy does not seem to be
associated with development of language or motor skills,” says Marie
Evans Schmidt, research associate at Children’s Hospital Boston and
lead author of a new study that followed 872 children from the age of 6
months to 2 years. The findings: At age 3, kids who had watched more
“educational” TV fared no better on standardized tests of language and
motor skills than kids who watched less.
This is not the only research to show no benefit from infant TV
viewing. At the Seattle Children’s Research Institute, Dimitri A.
Christakis, M.D., reviewed several similar studies and concluded, “No
studies to date have demonstrated any significant benefits from infant
TV viewing.” In fact, “the preponderance of evidence suggests the
potential for harm.” Babies should be exploring their world, exercising
their muscles and interacting with other people, says Christakis. When
you put a child in front of a television set, he's doing none of these
things. That's why the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that
children under age 2 do not watch television at all. Instead, play with
your child, read to her, provide interesting toys and set up playdates
with other kids.
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