Television and other screen time can have negative effects on children, including unhealthy weight gain and disrupted sleep and nap patterns. Instead of television, keep a list of other activities that you and your baby can engage in so they can get the healthy playtime they need.
At six months old, your baby is getting stronger and can probably do many things they couldn’t do even last month, such as pushing up on their hands and knees, rolling over, and possibly even sitting up. They are likely to be beginning to gain the strength, coordination, and social skills they need to really start to play. By giving your baby time to be active, instead of sitting still in front of a screen, they will get the chance to move about, play, and explore.
Dedicate a section of floor space for activity time with your baby, making sure you allow enough room for them to be able to kick his legs and roll over. The more fun you make it, the more they will want to engage in playtime—alone and with you!
Instead of watching TV while your baby is in the room…
Try encouraging playtime by lying down on the floor and letting them pull themself up using you as a support.
Instead of keeping a TV or other electronics in your baby’s room…
Try keeping a box of their favourite toys in there instead. Play together by putting some toys just out of arm’s length and encouraging them to roll from their back to their belly to reach for them.
Instead of leaving them in a car seat, stroller, or bouncer for long periods of time (when not traveling)…
Try encouraging them to sit up on their own by creating new games to play together. For example, fill a clean empty plastic bottle with rice or pasta and encourage them to rattle it and explore the sounds and patterns that it makes.
Instead of leaving the TV on all day, with your baby facing it…
Try giving them some fun tummy time. Lie them on their belly, put a toy under a blanket, leaving part of it showing, and encourage them to look and grab for it.
One recent study showed that parents with low activity levels were more likely to have children who also have low activity levels. Be a role model for your baby and commit to active playtime for both of you. Rest assured that this time spent with your little one will be precious and much more fun than anything TV can offer.
AAP Council on Communications and Media. Media and young minds. Pediatrics 2016; 138(5):e20162591.
Duch H, Fisher EM, Ensari I et al. Screen time use in children under 3 years old: a systematic review of correlates. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2013; 10:102. doi: 10.1186/1479-5868-10-102.
Thompson DA, Christakis DA. The association between television viewing and irregular sleep schedules among children less than 3 years of age. Pediatrics 2005; 116(4):851-6.
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