Some of our friends have decided no screen time before age 2 (more power to them!), but in many households televisions are unavoidable! We feel that as long as you limit the amount of television that is watched – let’s say 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at night – it is fine. Besides us parents also need a few minutes to write back to emails and make some phone calls! And at this age, your child is able to sit for a short period of time and attend to an educational show.
First off, we recommend television shows such as Sesame Street, Sid the Science Kid, and Super Why! There are tons of other quality shows and most of it depends on your child’s interests.
Also, watching a show does not have to be a sedentary experience. If the characters are telling your child to clap, show your child how to clap along. If there is an exciting song and the characters are dancing, have a dance party! Soon your child will even start pointing to favorite scenes and vocalizing (or may even hand over the remote control so you can change the channel!).
And last but not least, the language models that come with TV are great. Most likely your child will have the top 3 or so shows he likes. With this repetition will come familiarity to character names, theme songs, phrases, etc. This will lead to imitation. Don’t be afraid to talk to them about what they see on the screen, actions that are occurring, and what they think will happen next. They may not answer, but at least you are making it an interactive experience and making them think! It is also worth mentioning that the American Academy of Pediatrics is gradually changing their stance on screen time. Here is a link to an interesting article! AAP report ignores health impacts of screen time