All moms know, screen time for our children is BAD…right? But, does it have to be? There are so many educational and interactive programs that we can choose for our children. It doesn’t have to be bad. Of course, I do not want my child glued to a TV all day no matter what the program is, but, sometimes we need a break. Or rather, a moment where we are not the main entertainment for our children, to cook dinner, do laundry, clean…the list goes on and on. So, I’ll ask again, does screen time have to be bad?
I have an almost 2 year old son and now that I have been home with him the last 3 months, we have enjoyed learning activities, art, and plenty of outdoor fun (read more about our full schedule here). But in order to get necessary things done around the house while being home alone with my toddler, I have embraced the help of educational and fitness programs on my TV. Here are some of our favorites:
- Super Simple Songs – As the name implies, these are super simple songs and nursery rhymes which are great for young children. From “Itsy Bitsy Spider” to “Head, shoulders, knees and toes”. Watching my son with these, I have seen him start to learn from them and reinforces what he is hearing and seeing during our learning activities.
- Cocomelon – Similar to Super Simple Songs, these are animated cartoon songs and nursery rhymes and teach everything from colors, numbers and the alphabet to “Old MacDonald” and his farm animals and sounds!
- Bubble Guppies – This cartoon is on Nick JR and while I won’t put it up there with the other 2, I love that each episode focuses on teaching a different subject from what to expect on a first day of school to all about trucks or different stones. So, it is not strictly educational, but it incorporates learning with a storyline and music. It also encourages imagination – the setting is students who have an imaginative playtime adventure surrounding their class ‘theme’ of the day.
- Disney Plus Documentaries – Sometimes, I need a break from the animated shows so we play animal documentaries on Disney plus. These are great and have actually been really interesting. I have probably learned more from these than my son (he is 2 after all). But seeing animal behaviors and sounds is a part of learning. Also, for older children, some of these documentaries actually have downloadable worksheets to use along with the programs.
- Zumbini – This was originally my go-to for a little music and fitness for my son and I. Sometimes, we would do this together and other times I would put this for him while I finished some house work, but he loved this! Short little sessions which are broken into 3 parts, music/instrumental time, a short cartoon break, and dance time!
- Zumba Kids – Lately, we have moved on to a little more fast paced dance! Of course, my son does not follow these moves very closely but, he loves dancing to the music! And, I love that most of these are to current songs and are simple but fast paced dances, so, if we do this together, it is a cardio workout! (Me dancing, trying to get my son to follow while jumping, and him running in circles around me and trying to have me hold him while I dance…but a workout nonetheless) or, he dances and I can do housework with something other than nursery rhymes for a welcome auditory break!
- Cosmic Kids Yoga – This is a fun way to get your children introduced to yoga and the benefits of working out! There are different themes like farm animals where the setting is animated and all of the yoga poses and names are tied into the theme setting. My son now runs around and randomly does downward dog or his cat pose so he is clearly learning!
And, when all else fails…DVRed cartoon favorites like Paw Patrol or Disney movies. What can I say, sometimes, keeping a toddler from clinging to my leg while cooking dinner is the only win I can muster for the day, and, that’s ok. Hey, we are in the middle of a global pandemic! We have a lot of extra challenges these days, so give yourselves a break moms, if you need to, embrace some screen time, regain a little sanity, and check something off your ever growing to do list.
What are some screen time programs you’ve embraced for your kids?