Out of all the TV shows that are released year after year, how can you choose the best TV shows for preschoolers? You want a show that will not only entertain but also educate your fast developing little one.
Watching television isn’t simply an aimless pastime for young kids. Television has the power to mould and influence a child’s identity, behaviour, health habits, and school performance, says a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics,
So it’s important for mums and dads to carefully curate the preschool TV shows their little ones watch on a daily basis.
When choosing the best TV shows for preschoolers, here are seven important guidelines to remember.
7 Tips to choose the best TV shows for preschoolers
1. Go for shows that don’t have long episodes
On average, a four-year-old can focus on a new, interesting activity for about 15 minutes. Even if a show is visually stimulating, they tend to lose interest once episodes run beyond 30 minutes.
What’s more, a short show makes it easier to turn the TV off and get the kids to nap. It makes “Just one more show!” significantly shorter. And that gives mum or dad some much-needed TV time, too.
What we recommend: Creative Galaxy has short, fun episodes featuring the artistic and lovable alien Arty. Not only does this show promote creative problem solving, it also shows kids the importance of friendship and compassion.
2. Pick preschool TV shows you enjoy too!
There’s no need to suffer in silence as your little one sings along to an annoying theme song for the nth time. You can choose shows you actually enjoy.
More importantly, studies have found that co-viewing is vital to a kid’s development. When parents watch television with their kids, they allow for better language development.
The next time you finish an episode of your child’s favourite show, try to talk to them about it. Even if they just babble or ramble, they are already exercising their communication skills.
What we recommend: Take a break from cartoons and check out kid-friendly reality shows, like Masterchef Junior, a cooking competition featuring culinary kids. The show is about more than just delicious recipes. Kids can learn diligence and the value of hard work through this hit reality show. Parents can enjoy it, too!
3. Match the show’s pacing with the time of day
Choose shows that are compatible with the time of day. Don’t go for overly hyper or energetic shows when kids should be winding down before bed. During the daytime, you can go for a more energy-filled, interactive series that engages them in fun, learning activities.
What we recommend: For pre-bedtime viewing, check out the the calm and charming cartoon Kipper. For daytime viewing, try Imagination Movers, which is a show about a group of friends working together to help others, while playing musical instruments.
4. Choose shows that promote good values
A good way to introduce topics you care about is by choosing shows that highlight them. These can involve inspiring good values like empathy, or sparking a love for learning through curiosity and exploration.
After each episode, you can talk to your kids about it and show them why these lessons are important for them to remember.
What we recommend: Unlikely Animal Friends is a reality show on National Geographic that features unlikely friendships in the Animal Kingdom. This promotes love for all living things and how to care for nature.
5. Watch shows that promote healthy ways to relate to others
Though your kids may be young, they can experience overwhelming feelings and emotions once they start to interact with other kids.
Managing conflict, for instance, is something kids should begin learning in preschool. This builds their ability to problem solve, and accept differences. It also helps them hone their socio-emotional skills at a young age.
What we recommend: Shows like Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood can teach kids the value of being a kind, respectful, and helpful member of a community. It even gives simple advice on how to manage emotions, like “stomping three times” to make oneself feel better when angry.
6. Go for shows that educate and empower kids
Preschoolers are master imitators, so make sure the activities featured in their favourite shows are worth emulating. A good TV show for preschoolers should have positive social role models who inspire good behaviour.
As early as three years old, kids are already learning about gender differences. So make sure to only expose them to shows with strong male and female characters.
What we recommend: Doc McStuffins is an empowering educational show for girls, as it features a young aspiring doctor who learns as she helps others.
7. Expose kids to shows that broadens their worldview
You can promote diversity and respect for other cultures simply by choosing shows that feature characters from different countries.
More than giving kids immersive experiences, these shows help build their love and respect for cultures outside their own.
What we recommend: Teach kids about tradition and other languages with shows like Maya and Miguel, which gives a vibrant glimpse into Hispanic culture.
We hope these simple guidelines help you pick the best TV shows for preschoolers. Tell us, what shows does your preschooler love watching, mums and dads?