Babies: TV or No TV?
There are a lot of claims out there that introducing your baby to certain TV shows or videos can make them smarter. This is, well, silly. The journal of Pediatrics conducted a study to see what effects watching videos had on babies, and they pretty much found nothing. According to an article on CNN.com, researchers from Children's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts and Harvard Medical School found “no evidence of cognitive benefit from watching TV during the first two years of life.”
So, are you damaging your baby by allowing them to watch TV? Not necessarily. It depends on how much time they spend in front of the television. Once in a while for short amounts of time doesn't hurt. If you need to get dinner ready or you need to shower or whatever, a Baby Einstein video isn't going to be detrimental. One of the experts stated they “”did not find evidence of harm or benefit of TV viewing.”
But if you're interested in making your baby “smarter,” there are other things you can do. Babies learn more from simply watching you and listening to your voice than from TV. Even if you're just narrating yourself as you fold clothes, they're learning. Before opting for the TV, read a book together, sing songs, and learn pat-a-cake.
Don't beat yourself up for putting your baby in front of the TV once in a while, though. And don't rush to judge other parents who do, if you choose not to. You still need to get things done, and a few minutes of “Arthur” on PBS sometimes does the trick of occupying your baby. Just remember, everything in moderation; just like anything else.