Yeah yeah, I know what the experts say. No TV or screen time for babies and toddlers until they are at least two years old. Yeah yeah, the detrimental effects of early exposure to watching TV, yadah yadah yadah…
But what if TV is the only thing that can help calm your baby down? What if TV is the only other “helper” or baby sitter you have?
Breyen is almost 10 months old now and has spurts of separation anxiety at certain parts of the day. For some reason, his little bursts come during meal time. Which means he doesn’t allow me to cook and eat my lunch.
I have tried distracting him with toys, making him nap during my lunch, or even just leaving him to cry while I gobble my lunch in like five minutes. But it can really be quite bad. Okay, it’s not all bad if he is sleeping or is successfully distracted by his toys. When he isn’t, he really screams the house down. Even my neighbours sometimes say “Wah… He’s really very loud when he cries.”
It doesn’t help that him screaming and crying while I eat lunch probably means indigestion for me. I don’t even think I have time to chew my food properly before I swallow.
The same thing happened today. Breyen’s cries and screams started when I was cooking lunch. By the time I laid everything on the table, he was loud as a siren. I gave him his food and sat him down in his chair. He stopped for a while, only to start screaming again when he realised I was buckling the seat belt.
What was I to do? If I don’t eat, I will get gastric. I am still nursing him and need to eat well. But if I eat, Breyen is screaming the house down.
Desperate, I decided for the first time to turn on the TV and switched the channel to BabyTV. It took Breyen a while to squint between screams and notice what was on TV. Just like that, he calmed down and stopped crying.
15 minutes later, I was done eating and it seemed like Breyen was too. He started to squirm in his seat and wanted to be carried again.
Experts may say that it’s a strict no-no for babies below two years old to watch any TV at all. Let’s face it, if a little TV time is gonna save the baby from tears and screams and allow the care-giver some time to have a decent meal, I say do it. Let the baby watch something. Not for a long time but just for that precious, golden 15 minutes.
Having said that, be selective with what is on TV. Nothing too fast in motion. BabyTV (as I watched it for the first time today) seems nicely paced. Slow moving animation with nice soothing music.
If that buys me 15 minutes of grace just to eat my lunch in peace, I say do it.