How much TV should I let my toddler watch daily?

Real Mom Problem

“I'm embarrassed to admit that I allow my toddlers to watch too much TV. I've been wanting to restrict the TV time, but it gets challenging.”

by beco8627 beco8627

Quick Tips

  • 1. Monitor what your toddler watches and try to make TV time interactive & educational
  • 2. Look into what experts have to say about toddlers and TV
  • 3. Do what's best for your family

Real Mom Solutions

TV is a tough one. There can be benefits, but many moms don't want their kids to watch even a little bit of television. Not sure where you stand? See how the moms of CafeMom feel about TV.

It's All About Balance

  • bamababe1975

    I think there's nothing wrong with a couple of hours a day of TV, so long as it's age appropriate and at least a little educational. My girls learned a lot from TV shows, from sharing and empathy, to shapes, colors, numbers, problem solving skills and more.

  • NearSeattleMom

    We've never made a big issue out of television - and our 18-year old twin boys turned out not to be as addicted to TV as I might have feared when they were toddlers.

  • CampbellMama

    I think it is all about balance. As long as the child does other things and has parental interactions I see nothing wrong with TV!

  • Mrs.Bolin

    My 3 yr old daughter does watch quite a bit of her favorite shows but she learns a lot. She is smart for her age. But we do other things also besides TV that are fun and educational. People make too big of a deal. TV is not bad if you are controlling it and it's positive.

  • Ashley120427

    TV's are a lifesaver in my house. My children, ages 3 and 2, have a TV in each of their rooms and a DVD player and VCR. Because of Dora and Diego my children can count, say their ABC's, and know animals that I didn't even know existed. Yes as a parent I can teach my children these things, and I do, but if they won't listen to me, they will listen to Dora. So I think you need to lighten up and let kids be kids.

TV Shouldn't Trump Time with You

  • SarahSuzyQ

    I am much more restrictive with screen time than most. I just feel like if there is anything else we can be doing, we should. There are lots of better ways to learn interpersonal skills. I agree you can learn from TV, but I hope it's not the primary source!

  • 613

    We don't even own a TV! My kids learned their shapes, colors, numbers, and letters from.... US!

  • GentleGoddess

    None. My children don't watch any TV. And they are much better off.

  • Kansas12295

    The time you have with your tykes is precious. They'll grow out of it so soon. Don't let this push button, high tech, cold, robotic society steal your tykes from you. As long as you are home with them, make it an experience they'll always remember. Have table time. Have story time. Outside time for sun and fun. Lunch and nap time is YOUR time to rest, clean, etc. Get INVOLVED with your children and you won't have to worry how much TV is or isn't good for them.

  • Amy1973Potts

    We severely restrict TV. It is AMAZING how rapt they get when that idiot box is on.

See What's Worked for Other Moms

  • meam4444

    My toddlers only are allowed to watch a movie on Netflix every other day. On the days it isn't TV night, it is story night. It makes it a treat for them when we turn it on for their movies.

  • aviatioNation

    I think a couple hours is okay if there is parental interaction. When my son watches TV I'm right there with him asking him about what's happening on TV and jumping and dancing around when there's music.

  • Tfor2

    I think anything is ok in small doses. I like to have my son watch TV in the morning with his breakfast because it gives me a chance to concentrate on getting the older kids out of the house. He then watches 1 show in the afternoon before naptime or preschool and he watches for about an hour before bed. Just make sure you are getting other things in like reading, singing, counting, playing inside and out and that you let his imagination bloom.

  • sky375

    My 3 year old daughter watches about 15 minutes in the morning while she eats breakfast. She gets a "little girl" movie after school. I think it depends on your family and activities. Less activities = more educational TV. The next day the opposite.

  • UpstateAnnette

    I think 1-2 hours of educational, age appropriate TV per day is okay. Other than that, they need to be involved in some interactive play with other kids or adults as well as physically active and outside playing when possible.

What Do The Experts Have To Say?

  • sofiesmom112

    No more than 2 hours of screen time, and that means ANY screens, laptops, computers, TVs, DVDs etc

  • poohbear69

    I decided, about 2 months ago, to not let my almost 2yr old, 4 yr old, and 5 yr old watch TV because they are very hyper. Their pediatrician said to see if limiting their TV viewing would help. I see a little improvement. At least, there is no more fighting over TV shows and no screaming when the TV goes off.

  • momoftwins_2

    Our pediatrician flat out told me they watch too much TV and it will start to hinder their social skills. He said more than 2 hours a day for a 3 year old will make them kinda ADD. They won't be able to focus as well on things.

  • jakesmom323

    I have a 2 year old and I used to think that Nick Jr. and Disney Jr. were appropriate and educational. Then I started to see a difference in attention span, loss of naps, and he was truly addicted to TV. It was causing a lot of problems. I saw on The Today Show to limit TV before 3 years old to 1-2 hours and I did it! Now getting ready in the morning is a breeze, and bedtime is great now because he's not over stimulated. We focus on outside time, puzzles, parent time, and just letting him use him imagination with toys. It's been a great decision for us just shut the TV off for everyone in the household.

  • momoftwins_2

    Our pediatrician said 2 hours per day is the max they should watch.

Do What Works For You And Your Family

  • mommaofive

    I think it depends on the child. Setting a regimented amount of time my kids are "allowed" to watch TV just doesn't work for my family. As long as they are still getting some exercise and are interested in things other then the TV, I think it's fine to let them choose when they want to watch.

  • 2girlsMom.MN

    I think that it really depends on the kid. One son is fine with the TV on in the background, but the other would be a total couch potato if he could be, so one is limited, but the other isn't.

  • passeysweety

    There's no right or wrong answers when it comes to too much TV in your toddler's life. It all depends on YOU not other people's opinions.

  • Rosann99

    I think whether you allow your children to watch TV is a personal choice. I don't think anyone should feel bad if they allow their child to watch TV.

  • spunkysmama

    I don't know that there's a set time; depends on the household. Just keep your kids active and incorporate a little TV and a lot of outdoor activity and moving around.