Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Pearls of Wisdom I learned from Jill Stamm - Pearl #2

by Corky Harvey MS, RN, IBCLC, Co-Founder

This is the second installment of 3 Pearls I learned from Jill Stamm, The author of Bright from the Start

Dr. Stamm talked about DVD's for babies that are marketed in such a way that parents might believe that by having their babies watch these videos, they would become smarter. Oops! Research demonstrates that watching this stuff does not make kids brighter! In fact Jill shared some research that was eye opening indeed: For every hour of TV (or videos) watched per day before age 3, a child is 10% more likely to receive a diagnosis of ADD or ADHD by the age of 7. So 3 hours of TV/day — 30% increased risk. No one needs to panic here. Dr Stamm isn't talking about the occasional glance at a TV while you watch the Laker game, but rather the purposeful “plunking” of a child in front of the television set. There is new research from the University of Washington that was also shared: When babies are around TV, they are compelled to look at it. They are not interested in the content, and are not learning, they simply cannot look away. Although more research is needed, Dr Stamm felt that using a few minutes of TV a day, so mom can have a shower and dry her hair may make a huge difference in how a mom feels — therefore affecting her happiness. Happy moms make for happier babies. According to Jill this limited amount of TV probably won't be a problem. She actually put her girls in front of Mr. Rogers every day for a few minutes and I let my kids watch Sesame Street so I could fix dinner–NO GUILT–BALANCE! I still love the song Rubber Ducky.

Oh Yeah—be careful when attending the Mommy movies. Try to keep your baby facing away from the big screen. Nursing with your baby facing you or letting your baby sleep in the carrier or sling would be perfect.

Dr Stamm recommends:
  • No commercial TV for babies and young children. Quick hits with lots of interruptions from commercials and scene changes are a risk to the developing attention span.
  • Skipping the evening news is a good idea for young kids. It is filled with terrifying information that can cause unnecessary apprehension about bad things and bad people in this world. Kids have no concept that Iraq is far away. Heck — I can't stand the news before I go to bed either. When I was in grade school, our teacher showed us a film about the dangers of fire. I remember like it was yesterday a scene of a woman leaving her iron unattended which started a fire — the next scene is of her entire body swathed in bandages. It scared the wits out of me; I had a horrible time sleeping, and had nightmares for months afterwards.
  • No TV in kid's rooms. Watching TV alone in their room pulls time away from social interaction and gives parents no control over what is watched.
  • No TV in the car

By the age of 5 kids can learn from appropriate use of television.

By the age of 5 kids can learn from appropriate use of television.