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I'm at home all day so I have the TV on all day. I need some background noise or I'll go nuts and sometimes I just want to watch some of my shows. I don't block DD from seeing the TV... having it on is normal in our house. She sometimes pays attention to it but she also enjoys playing with her toys. Does your LO watch any TV?
Re: s/o watching the tube
I did the same thing when it was just Leo. He was like your DD, he mostly just played but sometimes watched the screen.
He does watch tv now, though it's on a lot less since we canceled cable. Charlie is in the room but doesn't pay any attention.
I don't block A from the TV, either, and its always on in my house. I think as long as we keep a good balance of TV, playtime with us, and as she gets older playtime alone and outside, I'll be ok with it.
Oh yeah. The tv is almost always on in our house. When she was little, I had on Food Network and HGTV all day. Now, its Nick Jr.
If she were just sitting there zoned out all day, I'd have a problem. But she plays and will ignore it completely. Or she sings along and dances, and interacts with the shows. She doesn't nap anymore, so around 1ish she will lay down and watch a show. That's about the only rest time she gets.
I think age is a factor too. From what I understand, the AAP suggests avoiding before age 2, but after that, 30 min. a day or something. I don't have my details perfect, but I've seen some articles from my sister and that mcgee posted.