Recommended Videos and Television Shows

Television viewing for children can have negative effects, especially if it is not monitored my parents or the child spends hours in front of the television every day.  However, some programs and videos can be beneficial and educational.  The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry website has an article that provides ideas on how to create positive television viewing experience.  Here is a summary and the link.

1- Watch shows with your child.  Interact with the program accordingly and encourage your young child to do the same.  With older children discuss the story line, the conflict, how it was resolved, and what the characters learned.
2- Choose appropriate programs.  Just because a show is educational does not mean that it is developmentally appropriate for your child’s age group.  If the show is too advanced or too easy for you child than it does not count as developmentally appropriate.
3- Decide on a time limit.  Both parents need to come to an agreement on this time limit.  You can set limits such as 10 hours a week which allows for an hour of television viewing a day and still allows time for a family movie once a week.
4- Turn the television off during meals.  Meals should be treated as family time and used to discuss the days activities and reconnect with each other.


All of the Baby Einstein videos are good and the age recommendations listed on the front provide a good guide to follow when deciding what is developmental appropriate for your child.  They offer baby, toddler, and kid videos.  The baby and toddler videos focus mostly on entertaining objects or puppets with classical music.  The kid videos focus on a number of different topics from animals to musical instruments.  There is sure to be at least one of these videos that your child will love.

The Your Baby Can Read!” series really captures the attention of a wide range of children.  I have seen 5 month old children all the way up to five year old children watch one of the videos.   My daughter loves these videos and watched them often (not the program recommended twice a day every day but fairly often).  Though I do not believe that my daughter would have learned to read solely by watching the videos I do think they have some benefits. First, my daughter loves watching them.  Second, she has a larger vocabulary than I suspect she would have had without viewing them.  Third, she has learned that not only does every object have a name but that name can be portrayed as a written word made up of letters.  And fourth, through out the videos are a number of fun songs that she loves to sing and listen too.  Some of the songs have hand motions that the she tries to follow along with.  So my two year old cannot read (big surprise) but overall I think she has gained so much joy and knowledge from these videos that I recommend them even though they have not done what they specifically advertised.

Great combo buy- Learning DVD Set from Leap Frog . 
~The Letter Factory is geared towards 3-6 year-olds and the other two are for slightly older kids who have already learned the name and sound of each letter.  Since my daughter loves letters and could already recognize all 26 letters I decided that this video would be developmentally appropriate for her even though she was not yet two when I purchased it.  As soon as it started introducing letters she started participating.  She would try and copy the sounds for each letter.  Within the first month I noticed her making some of the letter sounds as she played with her foam letters.
~Talking Word Factory teaches kids how to use phonics to spell words.  I waited till my daughter had completely mastered all her letter sounds (about 2 months) before moving on to this video.  She really enjoys it and it helps her understand that the letter sounds she knows form words.
~Let's Go To School teaches your child what they can expect at school.  It covers things such as recess, raising your hand, taking turns, and cleaning up while teaching counting, the calendar, animal families, and telling time.  My daughter likes to watch this one and then play school.

My daughter's favorite Leap Frog video currently (age 34 months) is Numbers Ahoy.  My daughter easily picked up letter recognition but was struggling with number recognition even though I tried to teach letters and numbers using the small playful games.  This movie had her recognizing numbers 1-10 within a couple times of viewing it.  I expect before long she will also recognize 11-20 which are also covered in this video.

Television Shows-

Super Why!   This show really promotes reading and helps develop early literacy skills.  Every episode includes practice saying the alphabet, finding rhyming words, sounding out and spelling a word, and changing a word in a sentence (and therefore the sentence) to change the outcome of the story.  I believe that this show (along with over letter games) is the reason that my daughter could recognize letters at the age of one.

Word World   I will admit that this is not my favorite show to watch but hey, it’s meant to entertain and educate toddlers and it does it’s job.  Even though this show is all about word formation the stories and themes are geared to a toddler audience.  Children are taught that the name of every object is made up of letters.  All the characters in the show are formed by the letters of their name, so the duck’s body is formed using the letters D-U-C-K.  This applies to all characters and to most inanimate objects in Word World (I cannot explain it any better.  It’s one of those things you just have to see for yourself).

Sesame Street  Some parts of this show are really educational while others are just fun stories.  Sesame Street tries to hit on moral character topics and also on hot topics in society.  While each episode focuses on teaching children one number and letter I recommend this show for the older preschooler.  Even though the older child might already know their letters and numbers they will get more out of the show than younger children.  They will be able to understand the moral of the stories, be able to remember the longer and more in depth story lines, and they will still benefit from reviewing letters and numbers.  I have tried letting my daughter watch this show around the age of 30 months but it just did not hold her attention, the only parts she was really interested in were the theme songs for Abby’s Flying Fairy School and Elmos World. Now that she is almost three she does watch it for longer periods of time (usually when I have gotten busy and forgot to turn the TV off after her other show).  A couple weeks ago she did pick up the word of the day, which was humongous, and has been using it non-stop. Fun!

Reminder- Even though your children are watching educational shows that are developmentally appropriate for them you still need to monitor the amount of time in front of the television.  Children need to be active, especially young children who are still in the process of developing gross motor skills.


  1. I have started watching the "My Baby Can Read" DVD's....I was confused why one of the first words on the first discs is I don't even know if I spelled that right

    1. Isn't that funny. I know my daughter still cannot read that word but she did learn to say "hippopotamus" pretty early.