Kids TV and Books + Question

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After reading a few books about brain development in the first 5 years, I became determined NOT to expose our child to any TV (even so-called educational DVDs) before age 2. That’s what most baby books recommend and the research is pretty strong on it. I had no problem with that since we don’t watch TV at home either ( we do watch series and movies that we get from Netflix in our movie room, but never actual mindless cable TV) and just sold our 60 inch TV because we hadn’t turned it on for 2 years, so it was just a waste of space. Once our baby turns 2 or so, we’ll be doing family time with movies and select cartoons, but I cannot stand having a non-stop TV running in the living room ( and I am sooooo sooo lucky my husband agrees, because I know most guys do the whole “zombied out in front of the TV” thing)

However, what DID bother me about not doing any TV time before age of 2 is that I wouldn’t be able to expose our baby to  Disney characters and stories. Being Disneyworld and Universal fanatics that we are, even since before we got pregnant, we would daydream about one day taking our own kid to the parks and enjoying the parks with them on a completely different level. We often talk about where we’d go and what rides we would take him/her on and what characters they’d see.

So in my head I struggled against doing the right thing and not having any TV exposure before two and at the same time giving our baby the joy that cartoons and characters and storylines bring.

So today as I was going through Zulily’s book sale, something ridiculously simple dawned on me:


Its so simple but it never occurred to me that there ARE books based on Disney and Universal cartoons. They are bright, colorful and FUN! And most importantly, they will foster interaction and language development, all without any need to resort to TVs.

I’m just really so excited about it that I had to write a post ( which I will try to do more of- short posts like this).
I love books and I cannot wait to start buying some! Yeek- I’m going to go look for them right now 🙂

So speaking of books, which books did your newborns like? I have no idea where or how to find books acceptable for newborns and infants, but I do want to read from birth ( I read Russian fairy-tales out loud since the baby can hear now, but I’d like to find something appropriate in English, as well as Spanish)

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  • Reply
    August 29, 2011 at 7:54 PM

    We read ‘Oh Baby, the Places You’ll Go’ by Dr. Seuss when both of our kids were still in utero, which was a favorite. It even calmed our daughter down when we read it to her after she was born. 🙂 Our kids are big fans of the Sandra Boynton books, (‘Hippos Go Berserk,’ ‘The Going to Bed Book’ and ‘Doggies,’ specifically) ‘Guess How Much I Love You’ by Sam Bratney, and ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ by Eric Carle. We have a bookcase full of books thanks to both sets of grandparents… our kids LOVE their books.

  • Reply
    August 29, 2011 at 11:18 PM

    Newborns like anything that rhymes. Hit up Babies R Us book section and you’ll find lots. We had a book called Rainbow Rob that has a cute moral, is about colors and is fun to read. Both kids loved it. Also Brown Bear, Brown Bear. 🙂 Once they get bigger, they like picture books and flip books where they have to lift the flap to see what’s under it. For example, Mia at almost two won’t sit still for a story but loves little books like Where is Spot.

    As for the TV, Mia never had ANY interest in tv and was still obsessed with Minnie Mouse from a super young age. Minnie was one of her first words. I don’t even know how she learned about her because I didn’t even read to her about it. We go to the Disney store and let her look at all the characters and right now she loves Tigger too. Don’t worry, it will all come together!

  • Reply
    Elena C.
    August 30, 2011 at 7:12 AM

    Totally agree on the whole “no TV” thing!
    That’s why we never bought a TV 🙂
    We read all the news online + we get to pick what movies and series to watch and when.
    Given HOW stupid local TV is, I’m sooo happy Massi agrees with me on that too 🙂

  • Reply
    August 30, 2011 at 8:21 AM

    We don’t watch TV either. We have Netflix, and some movies but no cable or regular stations. I love it!! When Garrett was really tiny, I would read to him while I was feeding him. We spent a lot of time doing that. We went through just about every baby book we had a couple times, so I read some of my Ramona Quimby books from when I was little. ; ) When he started crawling, we read a lot of the cardboard books. He couldn’t wreck the pages, so we let him play with those ones. We like books by Karma Wilson, Sandra Boynton, and Margaret Wise Brown. Some of our favorites are Goodnight Moon, The Runaway Bunny, But Not the Hippopotamus, The Belly Button Book, and Bear Snores On. He also loves Bob the Builder books, Green Eggs and Ham, and anything with tractors or construction trucks! ; )

  • Reply
    August 30, 2011 at 9:16 AM

    Perfect timing, a Cup Of Jo just did a post on baby books:

    And here is one when the baby was a newborn:

  • Reply
    August 30, 2011 at 11:00 AM

    My daughter loves any books where there are things she can touch inside. Such as, a book about animals where each page has an animal on it where the animal actually feels sort of like it really would feel. Does that make sense? Also, pop up books are a big hit with her. She is going to be 1 next week so she is still pretty little.

    Also, just an idea for when you have your baby shower…a friend of mine who threw me my baby shower put a little poem inside every invitation asking for each guest to bring a book instead of a card and for them to write their name and a little note to the baby inside so that we can look back in the books and see who it was from. It also helped build my daughters book collection! Here is a copy of the poem she put in the invitations…

    Although cards are nice ~ They’re read once or twice
    A book is a treasure ~ Forever and ever
    So instead of a card to be put aside
    Please give the baby a book with your name inside
    It will be read to our little tyke ~ Before bed each night
    And we will thank you ~ Forever and ever!”

  • Reply
    August 30, 2011 at 12:25 PM

    haha…sounds like you read ‘Brain Rules for Baby’ – I’m about half way through and the research is unbelievable regarding TV!

    Anyway, Abigail loves any books with LOTS of colors – she loves a series of silly books we got her by Leslie Patricelli (here’s an example –

    She’s also big on the “Taggie” books and she has a waterproof one called “I love my frog” which she can’t keep her hands off. 🙂

    • Reply
      Elena @ Art of Making a Baby
      September 9, 2011 at 5:54 PM

      hahahaha! That’s too funny! That was definitely ONE of the books that left a lasting impression on me! One of my favorites actually.

  • Reply
    Chelsea Pearl
    August 30, 2011 at 1:31 PM

    I know that both my babies love the touch and feel books. One of their favs. right now is ‘Are you ticklish?’ It’s simple and fun. My 8 month old is really loving to just feel all of the different textures. My 22 month old likes to tickle all of the animals. Also a tip would be to get books you loved as a child. You’ll be reading them OVER and OVER again so you may as well like them right?

    • Reply
      Elena @ Art of Making a Baby
      September 9, 2011 at 5:54 PM

      I can only remember the books that I read myself as a child, not what my mom read me. Plus they were all in Russia, which I will be exposing my girl to. But I have absolutely no clue about English baby books,except for Seuss.

  • Reply
    August 30, 2011 at 3:32 PM

    Good for you for planning on reading to your child rather than plopping him or her in front of a “Baby Einstein” DVD!! My daughter is almost a year old and we turned our TV off in March and haven’t turned it on since then. I don’t miss it, we don’t feel deprived. The only time she see’s TV is when we’re walking past them at the store!

    Some of our favorites are listed above (Goodnight Moon, for one) We also love “The Foot Book”, “Wet Pet, Dry Pet, Your Pet, My Pet” by Dr. Suess, Pat the Bunny, and all the Sandra Boynton books. We prefer sturdy board books that she can throw and bite.

    Also, take your child to reading time at the library when she can start looking around a bit (5-6 months) and let her interact with other babies and the storyteller. Our library has story times just for babies.

  • Reply
    August 30, 2011 at 4:27 PM

    Yay! Congrats on deciding not to expose your baby to TV until it’s a little bit more developmentally appropriate! I wish that all parents would do so. On the subject, since you’re still into watching some things online, there’s this great documentary called “Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood” that you might find interesting:


    Some of it is not surprising at all, some of it is on the disturbing side.

    My husband and I are only beginning our discussions of what we’ll allow our babe to be exposed to and what not. We’re on the no TV, no other electronic screens, and no blinky, freaky overstimulating toys bandwagon. He mentioned wanting to specifically expose it to Winnie the Pooh recently, and that conversation hasn’t got too far yet. I’m actually a bit of a Disney Nazi . . . partly because of the commercialization aspect, partly because of Disney copyright issues, but mostly because of how the company exploits the hell out of the people who make their products. There’s a short doc. called “Mickey Mouse Goes to Haiti” floating around the Web . . . I won’t link to it, because I don’t want to seem overly Nazi-ish about it. Disney has been in the news recently, too, because word is spreading of their use of child labor and abuse of workers in China who are making virtually all of the products for the Cars 2 movie; it became news because the conditions are so bad that workers are committing suicide in the factory.

    I guess that I’m really going to have to learn to pick my battles as things progress, but I just have a really hard time being okay with the idea of purchasing things for my baby/child that were made under slave conditions by some poor child or some poor adult who works 90-100 hrs. per week and still can’t afford to feed his/her family. Adding that kind of ethical criteria on top of the criteria of trying to find quality, non-toxic, and as-natural-as-possible products isn’t exactly the easiest.

    Good luck with the book collecting!

    • Reply
      Elena @ Art of Making a Baby
      September 9, 2011 at 5:52 PM

      I understand you being a what you call “Disney Nazi”. I have no idea about Disney practices. We are just really huge fans of the parks and characters. It’s horrible to think that all these big companies exploit child labor. But at the same time, I have to pick my battles. There are so many things I care about and try to do better with that sometimes it gets too overwhelming: organic, natural, no chemicals, no TV, etc etc…. Sometimes I wish i could un-know all the things I learned so that it was easy to ignore the information. So i figured I’ll do what I can ( meaning try to be green-er, eat organically and vegetarian, minimize chemicals, etc), but then at some point I gotta tell myself “I can’t do it all, I can’t be perfect” and let certain things slide.

      So i guess what I’m trying to say is it’s not that I don’t care about companies exploiting child labor and paying little to adults, it’s that I choose to let some things go, things that don’t directly influence my child, because I am already doing so much with things that do.

      Whew! It stressed me out just thinking about it all – lol!

  • Reply
    August 30, 2011 at 5:35 PM

    This probably won’t work for a newborn, but for infants and older babies this is a fantastic idea. I still use this for my toddler and she loves it.

    Make your own baby books. Sounds time consuming, I know. I noticed that certain objects caught my daughter’s eyes more than others(mostly high contrast things early on). So what I did was I either drew and painted that object, printed a picture off the internet, or cut it out of a magazine. Then I would use my scrapbooking supplies and basic craft supplies to turn those pictures into a story. I love to write and draw, so this ended up working out great for us. I like to leave the books a bit open ended so I can change the story each time I read it to my daughter. The best way to keep them open-ended is to not actually WRITE a story, but to instead label pictures and make a story out of it off the top off your head. Stories can get a bit silly after a while, but I feel it encourages creativity and imagination in my daughter. She always looks forward to my books.

    Hope this helps!

    • Reply
      August 30, 2011 at 6:25 PM

      Good idea!!! I did this when it was time for my baby to give up her binky so she had another baby to look up to:)

    • Reply
      Elena @ Art of Making a Baby
      September 9, 2011 at 5:46 PM

      Oh wow! That’s impressive but I just can’t imagine finding the time! I’d love to see a picture of what that looks like though!

  • Reply
    August 30, 2011 at 6:22 PM

    Now I have a super different opinion:) I’m super pro-TV mom:) Now, I’m not saying stick my baby infront of the tv all the time, thats just silly, and my baby does watch baby friendly things, not just what evers on the tube. But holy goodness, the things my baby has learned from barney! It sounds silly but she’s two now, been watching barney since she was one i guess, and now, I can tell her not to spit, and she’ll go “yeah right mom” or I can tell her barney says it’s not good manners and I get “oooooooh, right good manners. Ok” And I just found a new one on netflix that I’ll definately show to my next wee bitty, it’s made for tinier babies it’s got soft music and all it is is people drawing cute picture:) so again, not ALL the time, and not just what ever. but especially those times when you’ve been up all night with baby and you NEEEEED a shower, it’s so nice to put in barney and give her a couple toys and know she’ll be ok.
    But we love books too!!! good golly baby has tons of them:) we especially love Sandra Boynton:) she rhyms and has cute pictures:) we love her! and good idea with disney books:) OH! get cardboard books! if you get paper books for any baby under 4 it will get ripped with in days! good luck with your finding disney books:)

  • Reply
    August 30, 2011 at 8:33 PM

    good for you for deciding on no TV! I too think that it is completely unnecessary. We love the Bright Baby books. I’ve been reading them to our daughter since she was a newborn. She loves the colours and bright pictures. Now she is starting to learn her first words from them.

    and of course Sandra Boynton is fabulous too. 🙂

  • Reply
    Natalia Deymonaz
    August 31, 2011 at 3:02 AM

    Oh man, just lost my nice long comment about TV. hahha Oh well… I’ll just say, yay to NO TV! Great decision. With you 100% on that.

    As for newborn books, I don’t think they care yet what you read to them as long as you just read. During newborn stage, I read my own books but out loud.))

  • Reply
    Emily Hanley
    September 9, 2011 at 5:37 PM

    Oh my gosh, Elena! I feel the SAME WAY abou this issue! And on a side note, my hubby and I have that exact same theater screen! Too funny! I worked at Universal and my hubby works for Disney channel so we are very saturated with Disney. We stopped our cable as well and we mainly use Netflix. I am also a very huge fan of book reading to your child. Great post!! Your story is so simliar to mine!

    • Reply
      Elena @ Art of Making a Baby
      September 9, 2011 at 5:46 PM

      I love Disney, I can’t imagine not exposing our girl to Disney characters. And as soon as she’s able to comprehend things around her, we’re off to both Disney and Unviersal!

  • Reply
    Elena @ Art of Making a Baby
    September 9, 2011 at 5:55 PM

    And huge thanks to everyone who left book recommendations. Now I gotta find time to go online and look through them and order! YAY! 🙂

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