We are surrounded by screens throughout almost every aspect of our lives. This is why it’s almost impossible to avoid TV watching with your toddlers. So, what option does this leave you as a parent?
Before we answer this question, let’s clarify something; letting your toddlers watch TV doesn’t make you a bad parent. Like all things in life, when done in moderation, watching TV is harmless and can even be a good thing if done right.
For starters, you need to limit how much time your toddlers spend in front of the TV. The general recommendation is for kids between the ages of 0-2, screen time should be kept to an absolute minimum. For kids aged between 3 and 7, the general recommendation is that kids don’t exceed more than two hours a day where possible.
The trick is how you use this TV time. Just there are healthy foods and unhealthy foods, there is good content on TV and bad content on TV. Your toddlers are in some of their most formative years, which means that it’s important what you show them on TV.
For example, there are some great free cartoons for babies and toddlers that are as entertaining as they are educational. These cartoons are designed to teach your toddlers important life lessons and expose them to positive role models in between the bright colours and fun characters.
So, when it comes to TV watching with your toddlers, here are the guidelines to keep in mind:
- Choose the right content. This means you can allow your toddlers to enjoy TV time guilt-free.
- Try to build it as part of their routine, rather than using it as a fail-safe form of entertainment.
- Demonstrate healthy habits as best you can. If you spend your time glued to a screen, your toddler will want to do the same.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself. You won’t always get it right when it comes to screen time. The important thing is that you do your best.
- Avoid just having the TV on in the background. Music, for example, is a great way to provide background noise without the use of a screen.
If you choose the right content and lead by example, TV time can be a positive experience not just for your toddlers, but for you as well.