Saturday, May 17, 2008

GREAT Child Development Book

I checked this book out from our library a few weeks ago, and have absolutely loved reading it. It talks about the three things every baby needs - attention, bonding, and communication. The author, Jill Stamm, provides the science behind infant brain development, and how it's affected by those three things.

I love that this book offers simple suggestions for appropriately interacting with your baby in ways that will encourage his or her development. Some of the ideas are obvious, but even those are a nice reminder when we're doing something right.

I think what I found the most interesting was the information on how watching t.v. can alter the brain structure in an infant or young toddler. Stamm explains that the structure and functioning of each person's brain depends on how it is used. When a baby or toddler is watching a show on t.v., it typically introduces the characters and the story, then cuts to commercial, and another commercial, and another. Then the story picks up where it left off, and then goes to a few commercials, and on and on.

Young children don't distinguish the commercials from the show, so they see each segment and commercial as a new story over a short period of time, and this wires the child's brain to scan and shift, rather than pay attention for a long period of time. Stamm says some scientists believe that excessive early t.v. viewing may help explain the rise in ADHD cases, and that kids are increasingly more distracted and less able to stay on task, even if they aren't diagnosed with ADHD.

The author is not saying babies/toddlers should never watch television, but she recommends keeping it to a minimum. I think the book explains the reason behind this really well, so you'll have to check it out if you're interested in learning more. And I'm not saying I'm the perfect example of not letting Eli watch t.v., but for the most part we try to keep it turned off when he's awake.

There is much more to the book than the short chapter on "screen time" - but it's all really interesting information. I like learning about a baby's brain development and understanding ways I can help Eli as he continues to grow and develop.

Do you have any favorite child development books?


Davis & Asialene said...

That does sound like a great book. Our pediatrician mentioned the study about TV and ADHD last year at Makenna's checkup. I told Savanna that the doctor said she shouldn't watch much TV and she was so mad at the doctor for saying that (Savanna likes it but Makenna won't watch for more than 5 minutes). It was pretty funny. I would love to read the book and learn more. Thanks for sharing!

Christina Huling said...

Thanks! that's sounds like an interesting book. I try to be choosy about what they watch and don't allow shows that have commercials. We have directv and record everything. It's still probably not very good for them, but it sure is a good babysitter sometimes :)

Harley King said...

This explains so much in my communication with Wendy. she's always asking why I can't focus on her stories. I don't if it's because I watched too many shows with commercials or because most males just aren't exceptional communicators.

Kelly said...

Thank goodness for DVDs and NickJr (they play the commercials in between the shows and not during them!). Now my tots can indulge and I don't have to worry about them ending up with ADHD! Hehehe, just kidding! Sounds like a great book. Thanks for the recommendation!

Kerstin said...

thanks for sharing. so I am interested to know- is the commercial issue one of the main reasons tv is bad for children or were there other reasons? i have always been interested in the tv debacle.

Krazy Khania said...

Interesting! I will say PBS & Nick Jr. both have uninterupted programs for small children which, I agree with the book, helps children (and Mommies trying to get work done;)