The AAP’s zero tolerance rule was first driven by the popularity of Baby Einstein videos in the 90’s, and research finding that they were actually detrimental to a baby’s learning. The research was later debunked.
The vast majority of new parents – nearly 90% - ignored the policy and discovered that screen time distracted and calmed a fussy baby. A 2011 study found that 47% of babies under 2 watch up 2 hours of TV daily, and 30% had TV’s in their room.
Most parents and experts agree that too much screen time, in the form of hours each day, doesn’t do your little one any favors. But many parents have found an abstinence-only approach to screen time to be impractical, unworkable, and often counterproductive.
One former member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on screen wrote in a paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association that “we can no longer afford to guide children’s media use based on our values and opinions. Evidence based decision-making… must be brought to bear. In our zeal to advocate for children, we have largely ignored the positive effects of using media, mismanaged the public discourse, and lost the ear of many whom we serve.”
Time Magazine summed it up well: “parents, calm down about infants screen time.”
For starters, brief amounts of screen time can be useful in distracting and resetting a fussy episode. A few minutes of TV can help calm your baby when nothing else seems to be working.
Depending on whether you have other kids in the house, two working parents, a sick kid, or other responsibilities – a limited and strategic bit of screen time can keep you on the good side of sanity when you’re at your wits end and need a few minutes to get dinner on the table.
Digital content can also be a convenient way to introduce all kinds of things that you can’t recreate at home: dance, music, the sights and sounds of animals. In fact, small amounts of screen time boost the cognitive development of your baby, according to one study.
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