Our evolving toddler TV policy, part III

I have a confession to make: Little Boy’s been watching more TV.  Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and Curious George have permanently joined Sesame Street (still his favorite) in rotation, with an occasional smattering of Mighty Machines and Reading Rainbow.  There are two main drivers of this increased screen time.

The first reason is that Little Boy has been sick a lot.  And I mean A Lot.  Just this week, for example: he came down with pink eye on Tuesday and is running a fever today.  Books and friends warned us that the first year of daycare would be bad, but we didn’t realize just quite how much illness it would involve.  I’ve been hoping that it would taper off as cold and flu season ended, but no such luck yet.

Anyway, as I’ve mentioned before, the rules get relaxed when people are sick.  When Little Boy is uncomfortable and cranky, you can bet that we’re going to try to distract him from that discomfort however we can.  We also read, and go for walks, and snuggle, but yeah, TV is a big part of sick time.  After all, what do I do when I’m sick?  I lay on the couch and entertain myself with screens of the TV or tablet variety.

The second reason for the additional TV is that Little Boy has grown to be highly mobile and curious.  He’s also becoming increasingly social and, I think, gets frankly rather bored stuck at home with his mom and dad.  This combination means that he can get into lots of mischief.  Now, that normally isn’t too big of an issue, since we offer plenty of supervision, but sometimes as a parent you have to get things done that require your attention, and that’s where TV can help.

Do I feel guilty about this?  Of course.  I’ll always feel guilty about something.  But Little Boy has made recent leaps in verbal development, and he loves to read books and stack blocks and chase bubbles.  Television isn’t stunting him in some kind of terrible way.  In the end, I suspect it’s like most things: use thoughtfully and in moderation.


I wasn’t quite expecting this topic to turn into a series, but hey.  Here are parts I and II.

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4 thoughts on “Our evolving toddler TV policy, part III

  1. I firmly believe that there are good TV shows that can be helpful in learning, especially if you’re able to talk with your kid some about them. In our house, Super Why is the big hit winner; our little one won’t watch anything except that on TV. She’ll watch Elmo’s World on my phone (mostly because she doesn’t know I can get Super Why on my phone). Super Why is slow but awesome, and my not-quite-two-year-old is honestly learning her letters from it.

    In our toddler parenting class, we learned about different styles/speeds of shows. At the toddler/preschool age, they need shows that move slowly and stick with a theme for a little while. Not all TV is created equal. What you’re showing is far better than, say, SpongeBob with its chaos and quick movement from topic to topic.

    Also, I encourage you not to be guilty. You’re not showing him TV 8 hours a day. You do other enrichment with him. You interact. He gets fine and gross motor practice. It’s okay to have a little downtime. We try to keep it minimal too . . . but sometimes, you and/or your kid just need that break.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. When we all had a recent round of Vomitous Illness, I think my kids DID watch 8 hours of TV for a couple days!

    Mine also love Wild Kratts and old Sesame Street episodes. Except Sweetpea, who tries to eat the computer!

    Liked by 1 person

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