When it comes to being a Dad the last couple of years has been a constant struggle to resist the over whelming urge to Helicopter parent. I worry about everything – and nothing more so than screen time! I appreciate this is probably a little hypocritical as I’m constantly on a device of some sort (per my wife!). But, I have fond memories of throwing a ball around with my Dad, playfights and a love of imaginative play with the kind of seemingly old fashioned plastic toys they made in the 80’s that they just don’t make anymore!
I also remember as a child that appropriate TV came between the hours of 15:00 – 17:00 on a week night with a few hours of mostly appropriate Saturday morning TV (think Philip Schofield doing a kids version of This Morning).
Now I’m a little bit tight and reluctant to pay exorbitant amounts of money for satellite TV and it can be an incredibly frustrating experience flicking through the channels with an opinionated 2 year old trying to find something to watch.
Enter my wife’s ipad, the YouTube kids app and a world of bright shiny colourful chintzy characters. It must be said, whilst some of the content is dreadful, some of it is actually pretty good and has had a really positive impact on my son’s development, with him learning:
- The Alphabet
- Numbers 1-20 (and beyond!)
- Even the planets in the solar system!
So I guess on balance for my toddler it’s been pretty good and he’s learned a huge load of things that have put him in really good stead for when he starts school already at 2 1/2. Yes, we still limit screen time and I’ve recently introduced device free Sunday to the whole family but the power of the Internet has seen our young man thrive and prosper.
5 of the best YouTube Kids channels for your Toddler
1 – Storybots
With a Netflix show and some at least B-C list Hollywood talent involved, the Storybots are a fantastic online based magazine format show. Even I find the songs pretty catchy and I’m a massive music snob!
2 – Kids TV
A broad range of friendly, alphabet, number and shape songs, the Bob the Train songs are generally among the better educational videos on YouTube, although I challenge you not to find yourself singing the ‘I’m a shape’ song to yourself at an inopportune moment during your working day.
3 – Badanamu
Colourful characters and catchy songs. The traditional nursery rhymes are often amended slightly to include references to the characters. The version of Hickory Dickory Dock was a firm favourite for quite some time in our house.
4 – All Babies Channel
Whilst there are a few too many ‘no papa’ songs in their mix, the Phonics song is the one that I certainly credit with teaching my son the alphabet.
5 – Baby Joy Joy
In many ways this one is more of the same but.. for the sheer look of wonder on my little boy’s face when he watched it, their version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is worth a watch with your little ones.
What are your views on the controversial issue of screen time? Do you have ideas to share to avoid it or do you need it in your life!? Let us know your views in the comments.
Do any of you dads out there have a story to share? Let us know HERE and we will share it with our community.
(Photo credit: Matam Jaswanth on Unsplash)