Should babies and toddlers watch television?

In an episode of the famous sitcom Friends, the character Joey asks “What is your furniture pointed at?” when someone mentions they don’t have a TV. That was in the 90s. Today, TVs are everywhere – in fact, we all basically carry at least one in our pockets every day. Despite this prevalence of TVs, parents are still uncertain about whether their children – particularly babies

and toddlers – should watch television. If you’re asking this question, the good news is that we have an answer.

Yes, babies and toddlers can watch television, provided that it’s in moderation. Of course, toddlers and babies shouldn’t spend all day in front of a TV, but neither should adults!

So, if it’s a question of time, how long should babies and toddlers be allowed to watch TV in a day? The general consensus from experts is that babies under the age of 1 should not exceed 1 hour a day, but TV should be limited to as little as possible for this age bracket. For toddlers and babies between 1-3, TV time shouldn’t exceed 2 hours, outside of exceptions like family video calls and long periods of travel.

The good news is that there are simple ways to make TV a positive experience for your child. Here are our top tips for you to do exactly that:

1. Pick the right content

Kid’s shows are like food. There are shows that are better for your children, and there are shows that your children should probably avoid. The trick is to find the right cartoons for babies that will both educate and entertain your child. This way, when you let them watch TV, you can do so knowing that you’re showing them something that benefits them.

2. Make TV part of their routine

Building cartoons into your child’s routine can help to add some structure to TV time whilst limiting it to a healthy level. Simple ways to do this are letting your child watch a cartoon in the morning after they eat their breakfast or during quiet time in the afternoon. When you do is up to you, but we recommend keeping TV time and meals separate to avoid building bad habits.

3. Demonstrate a healthy relationship with TV

Your child observes you more than you realise. They watch you as you go about your day, and pick up on how you interact with the world – this is how they learn. So, if they see their parents constantly watching TV or staring at their phones, what do think they will start to do? They will pick up that this is normal and will instinctively want to do the same. Trying to develop healthy TV habits for yourself will not only help you but your child too.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to the great kids and TV debate, it’s not about whether your kids should watch TV, but instead how much. Follow the tips and advice in this guide and you’ll be on the right track.