TV Programming for Toddlers - Our Approach

27 July 2012

Yes the twins watch TV! Let me get that out of the way. I started putting them in front of the TV after their first birthday and they showed no interest whatsoever. So, I strapped them in the highchair and stayed with them and we all watched Treehouse (the Canadian equivalent of PBS kids I think). I did this to have an  idea of what shows were available on TV that I actually approved of. It ended up being a very short list and so I went out to look for electronic versions of those shows.

Why eTV? My plan has always been to limit the girls' TV time to shows I absolutely trust and find wholesome and educational in every sense of the word. I would then buy online videos or DVDs of those shows and play them at designated TV times. This serves 3 purposes
  1. The girls are not exposed to a motherlode of advertisement that will culminate in a long Christmas wishlist and a hefty donation to the pocketbooks of Messers Disney and co.
  2. I don't have to worry about "wierd" stuff coming on the screen
  3. It's cheaper than a cable subscription to specialty children's channels. The full season (16 episodes) of Cat in the Hat costs $9.99 on iTunes. The "Family" theme pack on our cable service costs $10 every month
Our fave DVD
How's it working for us now? Apart from the educational DVDs (Signing Times and Your Baby Can Read), we have a Cat in the Hat DVD which I love as much as the girls. I also have 2 seasons of the Cat in the Hat downloaded onto my IPAD. The girls love the show and quite frankly, so does mama. I could listen to the "Here we go go go go!" themesong all day

TV watching times:
Weekdays: On the rare occasion that the girls wake up early and I'm not done in the bathroom, I put the IPad on the floor and they watch Cat in the Hat for 10-15 minutes
Good Weekends: 1-2 hours of DVD watching while I make their hair. Timing depends on the complexity of the hairstyle and it's a great distraction.
Ornery Weekdays and Weekends: Watch for as long as it takes for mama's pulse to stop racing and toddler adrenaline levels to come down (usually 45 minutes)

Other TV shows I love and approve but don't own yet
  1. Yo Gabba Gabba: This one's hit or miss. The girls enjoy the "I like to dance" clip on YouTube
  2. Caillou: I can relate to the kid
  3. Manon: This is a 5 minute filler show that I really like on Treehouse. I don't think it comes in a DVD though
  4. Not TV, but all the old MGM classics (Sound of Music, King and I, My Fair Lady) will be watched at the appropriate time as that is a family rite of passage
I'm open to increasing our  eTV library, so if you guys have any recommendations, let 'em roll. Till then, have a super weekend peeps!

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