TV Programming for Toddlers - Our Approach

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!


  1. I don't know if you get BBC programs, but there are some really good one. The Night Garden is always a favourite with youngsters (Not necessarily parents), Thomas the Tank Engine, although we have a male dominated household. Peppa Pig is popular around these parts too. TV can be great to settle down kids and give Mum a breather. I'm afraid my two year old has overdosed in the last year though, it's hard being big brother to triplets sometimes, we have needed it for diversions. Good on you for setting limits. (What I used to do/try to do!) It does make a difference.

  2. Bubble Guppies! I love them! And, the Backyardigans.


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