Parenting Making the best of television time with your toddler; 6 points to...

Making the best of television time with your toddler; 6 points to consider

2016 Mar 8

Parenting with Joanne

There are many ideas in relation to television and children; the common one being ‘long hours of television is bad’. And I agree. Long, unattended hours of aimless television time does more harm than good for your little one. Yet we cannot deny that our young children can actually learn from the content shown on television. As parents, making this learning experience a positive and a productive one is actually in our own hands. Here are some pointers that can help you remember how to make television time at home useful for your growing child.

  1. Choose well –

This is probably the most fundamental guideline to follow in allowing your child to watch television at home. In my opinion, cartoons are not the best choice. Yes, they allow room for imagination and children more than enjoy watching them. However, the learning that occurs is fairly limited; active role taking of the characters; imitating behavior from on screen etc. You will be surprised at how much your toddler can be engaged in channels such as animal planet and discovery. It’s up to us to make choices that will further enhance their knowledge about the world around them.

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  1. Always accompany them –

Leaving a child unattended with a television set switched on, is not advisable by any means. You may find that your youngster may just try to flip through channels, gaze at the television without meaning or lose interest and move to his toys instead. Instead if you were to sit with him and engage him in conversation while he watches, the experience will be made best. If its animal planet that you decide to watch together, talk about the visuals being shown. By talking, I don’t mean incessant talking; but talking now and then to make sure the experience is interactive and engaging.

  1. Compliment the visual with the real –

Whenever possible, try and compliment his learning from television with the real experience. If your toddler has seen a few animals on television, try showing him a book with animals and then take him to the zoo to see these animals in real life. By doing this, you are enlarging his learning experience by helping him use more than just his visual sense. If there’s art and craft being shown on television, try making the art work at home as well.

  1. Avoid violence on television –

Violent behavior of any sort on television, will most likely be imitated by your child. Research in the field of child psychology, proves that children model what they see and aggressive behavior can be a direct replica of what they see on television.

  1. Minimum time –

In spite of learning taking place through television viewing, the hours spent watching television, needs to be curtailed for the overall good of your child. Anything more than half an hour a day for your toddler is going to prove harmful in the long run. Considering their short attention span and your active role in accompanying them, when television viewing exceeds half an hour at a stretch, there is a good chance that your child will aimlessly stare at the screen while you will run out of ways to keep him engaged. And you definitely don’t want that to happen.


  1. Television time into routine time –

By adding television time into your routine time for the day, you can fix an appropriate time limit for television viewing and make this time more meaningful than otherwise. Try as much as possible not to use the television as a means of distraction for your child, while you get your laundry done or house mopped. Instead, make television time something that you do as a family during one part of the day.

Joanne Sathyadass has a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Journalism, Psychology and English Literature from the University of Bangalore now serving as a Special Needs Educator

For any queries please email Joanne on


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