5 Practical Tips for Picking Your Toddler’s First Movies and TV Shows
As a parent, you probably already know that letting your child have too much TV screen time—and too much exposure to the wrong kind of material—can result in numerous detrimental effects, from increasing the risk of obesity and attention problems to developing aggressive and risky behaviors. While these harmful effects should be taken seriously, it is worth pointing out that watching movies and television shows can also be beneficial to kids. Besides providing fun and entertainment, watching TV can also help toddlers improve their literacy skills and behavior for as long as parents limit their viewing time and choose age-appropriate shows.
Perhaps you have decided that your little one is ready to have their first viewing experience, which is why you even purchased a new smart TV after looking at the best TV deals in the Philippines for months. If that is the case, then you should know that setting up your entertainment device is just the first step. What is most important is finding the ideal movies and TV shows that will benefit your child. Here are practical tips you may want to consider for picking high-quality programs for children:
Choose Simple Programming
As you go through different films and TV shows, try focusing on slow-paced options instead of high-action content. Besides giving your child enough time to think and absorb what they are watching, slower-paced educational programs are also less likely to have detrimental effects on your preschooler’s executive functions, which include self-control, attention, and working memory.
On the contrary, the rapidly presented or fast-paced programming could be too taxing for a young child’s brain to process. One study published in the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics found that watching fast-paced cartoons like SpongeBob SquarePants could, at least temporarily, impair a young child’s attention span, memory, and inhibitory control. In any case, such programs are not meant to be seen by very young children anyway.
You may also want to choose shorter types of content so that it is easier for you to manage your kid’s screen time. Keep in mind that it’s typically best for toddlers to watch no more than an hour’s worth of TV each day. When you choose shows with short episodes, you can turn the TV off naturally without leaving your child discontented.
Opt for Interactive Programs
Apart from educational content, you may also explore interactive movies and TV shows where the characters encourage the viewer to answer questions, create art, sing, or dance. Interactive programs are intellectually stimulating. They also foster better understanding and learning because children are most likely to appreciate what is going on when they respond to the character’s interactive questions.
Dora the Explorer is one example of an interactive show that can help your toddler observe situations, solve problems, learn basic Spanish words, count, and read a simple map. You can also try interactive films on Netflix that will encourage your child’s creativity and imagination, such as Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale and Buddy Thunderstruck: The Maybe Pile. Such movies give your kid the power to choose the characters and direction of the story, which means your little one is practically the screenwriter of their own show. Isn’t that an exciting and fun way to encourage story-telling and love for reading?
Check the Content First
Although checking reviews and MTRCB ratings can help you determine the suitability of films or TV shows for your child, it is best to preview the shows yourself before watching with your toddler. Make sure that the content, language, graphics, and message are appropriate for children. Don’t be complacent just because the programs you are considering are presented in the form of cartoons or animation. Keep in mind that there are numerous animated films and TV content that are not appropriate for kids.
For instance, the animated movie Sausage Party might appear perfect for children since it features cute sausages and hotdog buns, but it is actually for adult viewers, as you can imagine. The same is true with the Filipino animated film Hayop Ka. Be vigilant. Protect your little one from shows that feature sexual activity, violence, offensive language, and other themes that are inappropriate for kids.. More importantly, do your due diligence to discover programs that educators and child specialists consider most beneficial for kids.
Look for Shows that Promote Values and Good Behavior
TV programs and movies are not only helpful for teaching numbers and ABCs but also in imparting desirable behavior in children. As such, look for shows with positive stories and themes, and also feature characters who treat each other with kindness and respect. Stay away from programs that glorify violence and bad attitudes.
In the past. local TV shows like Wansapanataym and Hiraya Manawari were good examples of family-oriented programs that focus on traditional Filipino values, such as courage, honesty, humility, and discipline. Perhaps one of the best things about having your child watch such shows is that you can always make a reference to the characters and scenes to reiterate the importance of good behavior long after they’ve seen the shows.
Be Wary of Advertisements
While commercials seem fun and exciting for young kids because of their catchy tunes and colorful presentations, it is best to choose programs that don’t show them. According to the report by the American Psychological Association (APA) Task Force on Advertising and Children, exposure of young kids to advertisements may result in overconsumption of unhealthy foods, increased risk of obesity, and positive attitudes toward consumption of undesirable products like alcohol and cigarettes later in life. That said, you may want to subscribe to premium streaming services like Netflix and YouTube Premium to view ad-free movies and TV shows. Just make sure to set the parental controls.
Choosing good-quality movies and TV programs for your toddler is as essential as feeding them healthy meals. You wouldn’t give your child junk foods because they are bad for their physical health, right? Inappropriate films and TV programs essentially produce similar effects. However, instead of your kid’s body, they harm the mind, behavior, and emotions. As such, make sure to take the time and effort to screen all the content that you are planning to show your child.