It’s not always easy to determine the appropriate television shows for your toddler. Somewhere between the ages of 9 months and 15 months a toddler begins to show interest in television. After 15 months most toddlers regularly watch television for a minimum of one hour per day. With so many new children’s channels how do you choose the one that’s right for your little one?
Parent screening is of the utmost importance. A parent needs to pre-screen any television show before their child views it. There are many very violent cartoons on television these days, especially on the cartoon network. Some even consist of adult only content, such Adult Swim, on the cartoon channel. These shows have no valuable social messages for our children. Psychologists say that violence breeds violence, meaning that your toddler may imitate behavior he views on television. So choose the show that he may emulate very carefully. Avoiding shows with violent content at this age period is highly recommended.
As well as avoiding violence, you should offer shows that promote social well-being and kindness. Shows such as Barney the Dinosaur and Dora the Explorer offer such messages. They promote kindness, friendship, love, and sharing. Their messages are literally explained and acted out throughout the duration of the programs. The most recent Barney video my toddler saw explored kindness and friendship with animals. It was very impressive how the storyline promoted the subject in a simple enough manner for a child to understand. Dora the Explorer frequently teaches its viewers about friendship and sharing while pursuing educational topics.
Educational content equals early learning. If your child is going to watch some television anyway, it might as well be educational. Things such as numbers, letters, how to spell their name, and what to do in certain emergencies are some of the topics my toddler and I have viewed. Public television, Sesame Street, offers a wide variety of educational television. With Public television you need to decide what show is age appropriate for your toddler, as they are trying to serve all age groups throughout the day. Most of the toddler shows are scheduled during morning school hours, as toddlers generally do not attend school yet. Between 8 am and 12 pm are the best times to view these programs.
Although television cannot replace parent teaching and guidance, it can offer assistance if both parent and child view the shows together. All in all, television can be a very helpful tool in your child’s educational and social development.