Television time is always a subject that ruffles parents’ feathers. At our well child check doctor visits the provider always says to limit TV time to an hour a day or less.
If you’d let them, my kids would watch TV all day, and I’m sure yours would too. But how much TV do kids really watch? Quite a bit, according to the University of Michigan,
“On average, children ages 2-5 spend 32 hours a week in front of a TV—watching television, DVDs, DVR and videos, and using a game console. Kids ages 6-11 spend about 28 hours a week in front of the TV. 71% of 8- to 18-year-olds have a TV in their bedroom; 54% have a DVD/VCR player, 37% have cable/satellite TV, and 20% have premium channels.
In some homes the television functions as a babysitter because it is convenient. Need to make beds or fold laundry without the kids getting into everything? Turning on the TV is what a lot of parents turn to.
I admit that after breakfast I use the TV to keep my kids occupied while I take a shower and prepare for work. One kid sits on the couch and the other in the Pack ‘n Play. Often they will watch TV while I am cooking supper in the evening.
I try to keep my kids’ screen time to less than 2 hours a day, but when they do watch TV I try to make sure it is educational programming. Most of the time we watch PBS because it is family friendly and does not have sugary cereal latest junk toy commercials.
We are big Sesame Street fans. Some children’s shows I can’t stand to watch, but I have loved it since I was a kid. I think the muppets and the music originally piqued my kids’ interest, but now they love the number and letter of the day, the stories, and the variety of characters that many children can identify with. I love that they are learning new words, letters, numbers, shapes, and life lessons. As an adult watching Sesame Street is not boring either; I love the parodies of popular TV and movies. See a video of different parodies here on YouTube.
Brain Candy TV
I had never heard of Brain Candy TV until we started watching their videos on Amazon Prime. My son is absolutely mesmerized by this show. They teach numbers, letters, shapes, colors, plus simple math and do so using a dog, trains, monster trucks, dump trucks, and other fun things that kids love.
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
I grew up watching Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood and when I first heard about Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood I watched it simply for the nostalgia factor. The show teaches children about sharing, feelings and emotions, using the potty, eating vegetables, and lots of other good life lessons in a simple and easy to understand way. Both of my kids love the stories and songs. At any time during the day you can hear my daughter singing, “Clean up, pick up, put away. Clean up every day,” or, “If you have to go potty stop and go right away. Flush and wash and be on your way.”
The Kratt brothers teach children about animals, their characteristics or “creature powers,” and their habitats, in a fun, adventure filled cartoon. The brothers and their friends team up to save animals and thwart evil villains. Wild Kratts is interesting and entertaining for not only my little ones, but also for my nieces and nephews who are 4, 9, and 10.
Other educational shows my kids like to watch that your kids may be interested in are: Dinosaur Train, Peg +Cat, Word Girl, and Super Y. Here’s a great list of other TV shows for kids by Common Sense Media.
What are your favorite educational programs? Do your children watch any of the shows listed above? Do you have suggestions for TV programs to check out? Leave me a comment below.