Television has come a long way. There are dozens of programming that is now available for children of many ages. They actually can learn valuable lessons from television and it can help develop their imaginations.
I have to admit I love television. However, as much as I love it I do not watch a lot of it. I have always made a point to only turn it on to watch a specific program. We never have the television on just for background noise. We have slowly been deciding what to do with Xavier and television. When he was born we really did not pay much attention to what we were watching at first because he really could not see it. When he was about four months old we knew we had to address the television issue when Xavier got excited every time Dr. Phil would be on the television. We figured it was about time that we put on some shows just for him and filter our television watching. Nick and I now stick to PG rated television shows while he is up and it is very minimal if at all. As long as the people on the television are not doing crazy things we figure it is ok for him to see it. Xavier is too young for us to explain that television is make believe so we stick to simple sitcoms like Everybody Loves Raymond and Friends and such that if he saw would not be that bad. No slasher movies, cop shows, or cartoons that have violence. We love our Looney Tunes but until we can explain to Xavier that they are make believe and are not real we figured we would filter the television. A big issue with children watching television is the fact that parents should be watching (or at least some what paying attention) to the shows so that if needed they can discuss them later. We try to watch the television shows with Xavier so that way it is something enjoyable that we do as a family.
That has left us with three main channels for Xavier to watch PBS, The Disney Channel and Nick Jr. I do wish the Disney channel had it's own Jr. channel as it is hard to find the shows on it that are just Disney Jr. shows. While flipping through shows and trying different ones we have ended up with three favorites. I thought I would share to help the new parents with finding shows their little ones may like.
The first favorite of course is Sesame Street. Nick and I were delighted to have an excuse to watch Sesame Street again. It still is the same great show as it was when you were little. Believe it or not Xavier loves it as much as us. He likes the puppets and there are a lot more digital cartoons on it now as well which he enjoys. There are a few changes, there is now a couple female Muppets named Abby and Zoe. There is a new Muppet named Murray, he gives you the letter and number for the day. Super Grover is now Super Grover 2.0, and Bert and Ernie adventures is now claymation. You will always see Elmo and Grover and a little Bert and Ernie but the other characters are hard to see they must be very busy in their Sesame Street lives. Despite any changes it is a great learning resource for children and it will bring you back to your childhood watching it with your little one.
Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood is Xavier's favorite show. I am not sure what it is about this show, but he gets extremely excited when it is on and he loves Daniel. He will talk and laugh and shake with excitement when this show is on. Believe it or not this show just started in September 2012 however, you probably know more about it then you think. This is made by the people who brought you Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. In fact Daniel the Tiger is the same character Mr. Rogers brought you. Daniel lives in the town of make believe with all the characters from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. It is animated and it is geared towards preschoolers ages 2-4 years old. It is on PBS and uses the same musical strategies grounded in Fred Rogers' landmark social-emotional curriculum. This is a great show that is both entertaining and has lots of good lessons in it. You can actually watch full episodes on PBSKids.org.
This show is on Nick Jr. It is a 3D CGI animated musical adventure. It teaches teamwork, social skills and a lot of imagination. This show is for toddlers as well. Xavier likes the bright colors and the music in this as well. (he loves music in general). It is a little more for him to grasp the storyline as it is so much imagination but it is good for toddler children. What is great about this show is it is usually on during the evening on Nick Jr. and it can be a life saver when you are running on empty on how to entertain your child.
All in all remember everything in moderation is always what is best. You can learn some great things from television and it can be a wonderful thing you can do as a family.