If a child is partaking in these activities they are not doing more time valuable things like reading books or exploring the word around them. While I couldn’t agree more with this concern, we do allow our two year old to watch some television. While I do think too much TV time is detrimental for many developmental reasons, I don’t think a little bit is harmful and if anything could be (gasp) beneficial depending on what it is your child is watching.
How We Structure TV Time
The TV time in our house is limited to a few minutes in the morning and evening. This works well for us. When we wake in the morning, after I get my daughter ready for the day I allow her to watch one 20 minute TV show that was pre-recorded allowing my husband and I to grab showers and get dressed. The same is for the evening when we get home from the day. While I’m prepping supper, and my husband is tying up loose ends from his work day (which is almost always brings home) we allow another 20 min episode to give us time to get everything organized.
After the show is over the TV goes off and she has the options of playing, coloring or reading her books. I don’t like her jumping right into toys and books as soon as we get home because it makes a mess just as we’re trying to get organized. She also usually wants one or both of us to engage with her when playing (she’s an only child) so we need those few minutes to deal with our stuff so we can devout attention to her and the amazing block tower she built for us.
Hand Picking Shows
My husband and I have also gone through and hand-picked the shows we allow her to watch. There is a lot of really bad, and just plain dumb television shows for children. If she’s going to be watching something it has to be fun but also reasonably educational. We have our favorites and have pre-recorded a few episodes of each.
Our daughter knows that watching TV is a special treat of sorts. While we’d never disallow books, if she has a bad attitude or doesn’t listen to us she won’t be allowed to watch television.
Our experience with the shows we’ve picked for her has been positive. She’s learned things from the shows that she tries to teach us. Just the other day she told me a kangaroo was a marsupial and that airplanes have engines. While they’re simple lessons she has fun watching the shows, learning about new things and proud of herself for telling mom and dad about her new-found knowledge.
Books and playtime should always take priority over any screen time but I am of the opinion that it’s not a bad thing once in a while, I’d rather know exactly where she is while I’m in the shower than worrying about her tearing the house apart!
Do you allow any screen time for your toddler?