Is It Okay to Let My Baby Watch TV?

Updated: Apr 12

New motherhood is an actual trainwreck of exhaustion. Don’t let anyone, specifically your perfect step sister tell you otherwise. The open secret is that every single mom in the universe is on a sleep deprived quest to find quality ways to keep their tots safe while they catch a break.


Still, in a society where mothers are constantly comparing and feeling compared to each other, using the television as a form of entertainment for your little one can feel like a dirty little secret that hums away under the burning question:


Should Babies Watch TV?


In short, yes, babies should watch TV.


Here’s why: When babies watch TV, their moms briefly feel like the world isn’t going to collapse around them.


Parent burnout - but let's be real, mom burnout especially - is legit. So, if throwing on the ol' telly gives you a chance to rest your brain and recharge your battery to even like, 10% then it's the right choice for both you and the babe. Remember, that if it benefits you and your ability to care for yourself then it benefits your kid in the long run (barring something heinous, of course).


A baby sits near a midcentury television waving at the camera because he doesn't know how hard life is going to be in the 80s.
Image contains a chonky baby placed in an unsecure metal stroller up against a fireplace that we pray is unlit, near a television in a house that seems suspiciously clean but also probably riddled with lead based paint judging by the midcentury decor. | Photo via Boston Public Library

Other Good Things That Happen When Babies Watch TV


Your sanity isn't the only thing that benefits some screen time for your kiddo!

  • The baby starts thinking about what kind of snacks it will nosh on their Netflix binge in the future when they have more facilities to reach the Guilt Snacks basket at the top of the fridge. This is key development that will benefit their conquest to become a mediocre adult.

  • Mom can sneak away for 2-8 minutes (depending on the virility of her partner) to get pregnant again. This is good news for your baby if they hate watching TV alone.

  • Babies learn what it means to have a mom that doesn't smell like a bag of Cheetos since their mom can use TV time to take a luxurious shower.

  • You can develop a life-distracting crush on your child's favorite fictional TV characters including Blippi, Kate McKinnon's version of Ms. Frizzle and The Man in The Yellow Hat.


Here's What The Experts Have to Say About Infants and Screens

A toddler sit quietly at a table staring at a tablet screen just like he should.
Image contains a toddler sitting quietly at a table staring into a tablet screen because this is his future. | Photo via Kelly Sikkema

Infants Shouldn't Be Exposed to Screens Because it Delays Development


That's right. According to HealthyChildren.org, children under the age of 18 months (that's a year and a half for idiots who can't do math) should never, ever be exposed to a screen because it distracts them from staring at their parent's faces and interacting with others, something they apparently need in order for their brains and speech to properly progress at the normal, cookie-cutter rate that pediatric experts all agree on.



A toddler learns a lot more from banging pans on the floor while you cook dinner than he does from watching a screen for the same amount of time, because every now and then the two of you look at each other. -Dr. David L. Hill, MD, FAAP via HealthyChildren.org

Here's Why They're Wrong


Dr. David is not going to come to your house and clean the pots and pans your baby just drooled all over, or cook some rice-a-roni and chicken nuggets for your toddler with a bunch of banging sounds happening in the background ¯\_(ツ)_/¯



The Quality of The Screen Time Matters


KidsHealth.org, which is one of the child expert internet gods says that not only is the amount of screen time your baby is exposed to pertinent, but so is the quality of the content. For example:


Plopping your toddler down in front of the TV to watch your favorite shows with you is an example of bad screen time. - KidsHealth.org


Here's Why They're Wrong


Babies love Schitt's Creek, it's a fact. Also, what if your favorite show is Blippi? What does KidsHealth really know about your entertainment interests anyway?


9 Things You Shouldn’t Let Your Baby Watch


Let's be clear, just because you need a break to play games on your phone or FaceTime your mom doesn't mean that you should let your baby consume just anything. The world is full of really bad stuff and you need to be a filter between trash and your little one. Of course, use your own discernment (if you have any) but here's a list of 9 shows and films you should absolutely not let your baby watch and why:

  1. Frozen

  2. Frozen II

  3. Caillou

  4. Stranger Things

  5. Paw Patrol

  6. Colleen Ballinger on YouTube

  7. Lost

  8. Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood

  9. Word World


1. Frozen


The Premise


Two smoke show cartoon sisters get into a huge fight over the red head making a manic decision to marry some chode she's known for about three and a half hours. Meanwhile the blonde one keeps having a bunch of anxiety attacks that manifest as ice. Together, they have to learn to stop fighting. There's also a talking snowman.


Why You Shouldn't Let Your Baby Watch It


Because you might end up with a huge crush on the macho numb-nut ice salesman, Kristoff and you already have to deal with the weird feelings you're going to develop about Blippi. It's too much.


2. Frozen II


The Premise


No one really knows. Apparently, the two attractive cartoon sisters return to maximize Disney's profits but from there the plot is anyone's guess. The talking snowman is back too.


Why You Shouldn't Let Your Baby Watch It

The music isn't as good as in Frozen I and it's your job to shield your baby from disappointment.


3. Caillou


The Premise


A kid who is either three-years old or thirteen (it's pretty hard to tell) complains to his highly functional and caring mom and dad constantly, without repercussions, like every other white privileged kid.


Why You Shouldn't Let Your Baby Watch It


Because if you're going to have the TV babysit your kid, you don't want this POS being their main influence:

The Spawn of Satan, Caillou, having an absolute meltdown.
Image contains The Spawn of Satan and PBS' worst creative decision ever, Caillou, throwing a temper tantrum over something that's probably really ridiculous like that his mom put one too many chocolate chips in the cookie batter or used the wrong scented fabric softener when she was lovingly washing his clothes. | Photo via YouTube

4. Stranger Things


The Premise


A group of precocious, unsupervised kids get caught up in a lethal government conspiracy that reduces the ever-beautiful Winona Ryder to a puddle of tears while she rocks back and forth gripping a tangle of Christmas lights.


Why You Shouldn't Let Your Baby Watch It


Stranger Things is a huge commitment. There's three seasons and you almost for sure have to go back and re watch each one to fully understand why the little girl, Eleven, keeps screaming so hard that her face starts to bleed. Your baby might not be in the right headspace for such a thinky show, y'know?

5. Paw Patrol


The Premise


A bunch of dogs in civil servant type costumes has to keep saving their community from impending doom.


Why You Shouldn't Let Your Baby Watch It


Because Paw Patrol isn't cool anymore and you want your baby to be cool, right?


6. Colleen Ballinger on YouTube


The Premise


A funny mom vlogs her pregnancy cravings, diaper snafus and chronically shy actor husband.


Why You Shouldn't Let Your Baby Watch It


Because mentally you'll spiral far down, questioning where you've gone wrong on your life journey that you can't be a mega success telling stories about the time you got your own poop all over a public toilet.


Colleen Ballinger's YouTube videos about pooping her pants
This image contains YouTube thumbnails of just a sampling of Colleen Ballinger's unfortunate poop experiences.

7. Lost


The Premise


An airbus full of people become stranded on the mysterious island they've crashed down to. As it turns out, several of them have magical powers or think they have magical powers or suspect someone else is hiding magical powers. Additionally, some of these absolute strangers turn out to be blood-related and at some point Seth's grandpa from The O.C. shows up and there's talk of time travel.


Why You Shouldn't Let Your Baby Watch It


Your baby only gets to be a baby for so long and if you want them to have PTSD from a series, this isn't the right one (personally we have to suggest Netflix's German language sci-thriller Dark above any other traumatizing screen binges). Lost was and always will be the most god-awful dumpster fire of a television show ever created by a bunch of people who got paid pretty decently to apparently throw wadded paper balls around a writing room while they Mad Libbed the entire plot. They had literal years to get their crap together and consistently chose to just write some more black smoke instead. If you want your child to grow up to have taste and to not be deemed a Bad Mom then you'll avoid this show in your home.


Jack from ABC's Lost being bossed around by the Walkabout guy.
This image contains Jack, one of the 300 main characters of ABC's Lost trying desperately to make sense of the last five seasons of the stupid megahit. | Photo via Lostpedia.Fandom.com


8. Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood


The Premise


A tiger named Daniel massacres his entire neighborhood with gut wrenchingly wholesome life lessons.


Why You Shouldn't Let Your Baby Watch It


Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood will unfairly convince your baby that school is fun and teachers are always calm and never overworked.


9. Word World


The Premise


Some mangled looking animals try to teach your baby to read via sight words.


Why You Shouldn't Let Your Baby Watch It


A great deal of your personal freedom as an adult comes from your baby's inability to read what you're writing about him via text to your best friend.

 

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