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Audio Visual Entertainment — What kind and how much

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When we plan to invest in our babies we put into consideration many things. We look for house girls, we decorate the nursery, we research on the appropriate toys to buy and some of us even book schools for our unborn young ones!

A small research though has shown that there is a neglected area in planning the best for our beloved babies. This is the positive entertainment for the young souls. Who said they don’t need to be entertained?

Paediatricians say that exposure to audio and visual entertainment can affect your baby’s future either negatively or positively.

Dr. Ian Kaburu, a paediatrician, advices that introducing audio visual entertainment to a baby should not be overdone.He says that guided music is good for a baby’s world but cautions that it has to be soothing music. This type of music lulls a baby to sleep and when in deep, relaxed sleep, the growth hormone is released and so the baby will gain weight. Classical music and jazz are among the types of music that you can invest in. When music is part of the everyday routine, the songs can help your baby know what to expect and feel more secure. For instance, if you always sing a lullaby at bedtime or naptime, your child will come to see this as a cue for ‘it is sleep time.’

On the downside, loud music can affect a baby’s eardrums in turn affecting his hearing ability in future. Again, when a baby hears different noises in music, it can hamper his speech development.

Some mothers think their babies are too young to clasp anything and you will find them leaving their toddlers in front of their TV screens as they attend to other issues. Babies visualize and digest images they see on TV which create meaning to their world. You should therefore be careful on what images are showing on TV before you leave your baby in front of the screen.

Here are TV watching tips for parents of babies and young children. They may help you minimize the negative and maximize the positive effects of television watching for your little one:

  • Hold off introducing television and even videos to your baby as long as possible. If you decide to allow TV before your child turns two, choose the programs carefully. They should be purely soothing and gently playful. The viewing time should not exceed an hour.
  • Watch the programs before you allow your baby or toddler to watch them. Just because a station markets a show for young children, it is not a guarantee that it will reflect your own family’s morals and values.
  • Pay attention to commercials. A children’s show can sometimes feature commercials that depict things you do not want your little one to see. Ensure there are no violence and intimately suggestive scenes. If they happen to be there, go ahead and change stations when they are aired and make a point to complain to the relevant authorities.
  • Invest in a collection of appropriate and educational videos for your child so that you are not confined to network program schedules when you are ready to let your little one learn something from good audio/ visual entertainment.
  • Watch along with your child so that you can monitor their reactions to what they are seeing.

Approach the introduction of audio/visual entertainment to your baby as one does with something sweet like ice cream. Sweet as it is, it is the regulated amounts of it that makes both you and your child to enjoy its sweetness to the fullest.

END: PG 21/60

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