Top child friendly TV at any age

Yes Diego. No Dora

Every once in a while there comes a time when TV is your best friend, and ultimately your child’s babysitter. Trying to cook dinner while daddy is working late and first thing in the morning while I make breakfast, feed sister and do morning chores before her nap are my number one and two reason/excuses.

There is a lot to choose from on Netflix and you can never be sure what you are picking until after you discover its brainless and therefore your kid is in love. I allow one or two entertaining shows but mostly it needs to be educational. He does actually learn something and I feel less of a failure; win win

Aged 0-1 year

Before his first birthday, he watched Baby Einstein. I liked the music and he liked the puppets. This also helps get him used to classical music. Without a firm grasp on story line and a lake of focus, this was all I let him watch. On the long car rides to visit my parents, we played this after he woke from his nap.

Aged 1 -2 years

After he turned one, we watched Diego as well as Jake and the Neverland pirates. Jake being the mindless entertainment, he did learn about pirates and mermaids and it’s Disney so I thought it was adorable. Diego was amazing, the animals he learned about and their habitats often had me learning something new. Bubble Guppies is a fairly new discovery in our house so he didn’t watch it until he was older but baby girl likes it (14 months). She dances with the songs and doesn’t mind when her brother watches it. The content is over her head but at this stage, what isn’t.

Aged 2-3

By the time he was two, he was still in full day daycare so he wasn’t watching anything new. A few months later, I left my job and we moved. We quickly discovered Dinosaur train and Thomas & friends. Tarzan, Jungle Book, Dumbo, Peter Pan and Finding Nemo are his all time favourite movies. When we travel, I have a copy of these in the iPad for quiet car rides or distractions during restaurant dinners – yes, I am that mom because he is that kid, get over it. We let him watch a handful of Team Umizoomie, and for a while it was great; shapes, colours, problem solving. But Season 2 got a little weird; the physics didn’t make sense, so we put a stop to it all together.

Aged 3-4

We have added Little Einstein, Super Why, Daniel Tiger and Octonauts as his learning shows. Harry and his bucket of dinosaurs is good for imagination and goes great with the actual bucket of dinosaurs he received for Christmas a few months before. He does watch Rescue Bots and for a while he watched Paw Patrol, as well as Handy Manny and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Aged 4-5

Now that our little monster is 4 years old and his sister is 14 months, I have to find that fine line of  what can he watch that wont scare her. He has discovered a few new shows on Youtube (since my Unblocker no longer works), and he has learned how to navigate Youtube, which is always a bonus (?). PJ Mask is only allowed on the tablet because I don’t want the baby to see it, even though it is hardly violent. Duck tales has made it into his playlist; I am noticing that the cartoons I grew up with are much more violent and mouthy than the shows airing now. A friend showed him Peppa Pig so we have watched several episodes of Peppa Pig, I have let the baby watch this a few times so I guess it would work in the Aged 1-2 category too, but it isn’t very educational so I am still on the fence of recommending it at that age.

Refuse to watch

There are a few shows I refuse to let him watch. Anything that is aged 7+ is too old for him. Caillou is not allowed for obvious reasons. Veggie tails was a little too energetic for my energy filled toddler, it got him worked up. Crayon box was way below his level, I don’t even think I will let my infant watch that. I really want him to watch TMNT and Gargoyles because they were my childhood favorites, and Darkwinged Duck, but I am not in a rush to see my little boy watch such “big kid” shows. Maybe in a few years when he understands these are only cartoons. The last thing I need is school calling me because he tried to Karate chop a classmate in Junior Kindergarten.

Amount of tv

Just because he has a lot available to watch doesn’t mean that he watches them all at once. He is not allowed to binge on Youtube for hours on end. One hour per day, two if its a rough day for mommy or I really need to get stuff done during nap time.

He is also not allowed to have tv playing in the background while he runs off to do something else. This is a tricky line to tell him; no you can’t play because you are watching tv? No. If I see his interest fading before his tv is over, I wait until the episode is over and simply turn it off and tell him to play. This isn’t a punishment; when he misbehaves during the day he will loose tv time, but not being interested in the show should never be punished and forced to play. Sometimes he has a fit and promises to sit still, but I just tell him he can finish his tv time after dinner.

   Tell me your tv suggests and why you think these shows are suitable, always happy to add to the playlist.

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Christine Leger is the founder of Tapped Out Travellers, a Family Travel Blog About Travel with Kids. We explore travelling on a budget, splurging on bucket-list travel opportunities along the way. Although Canadian, she currently lives in Germany.

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