Can TV Teach Your Young Child? Powerful tool, or Gateway Drug to TV addiction?

I know there has been a lot of debate over the years about screen time for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. Each camp has their points and beliefs. As a parent you have to make that decision for you and your child. 

My personal point of view is screen time can have its benefits. As long as you are very selective on what you let your kids watch. It is also better if you watch these DVDs together with your child, but even if they spend 30mins on their own while you get dinner on the table, I believe these videos will help educate your child while entertaining them. 

Just remember, DVDs don’t replace one on one time teaching your child. Its a tool, not a complete method.

My Top DVD Picks for Young Kids:

1)LeapFrog: LearningSet, Volume Two (Three-Disc DVD + CD)and basically any video created by LeapFrog are time tested and true series in my family. We prefer the original ones before Tad and Lily were twins. But over all these DVD’s helped solidify some concepts I had been working on with my boys, like letter sounds, word building, numbers, skip counting, etc. 

 2) Sparkabilities : Sparkabilities is a developmental media series for birth through preschool. You and your child can enjoy smart-fun designed to develop essential learning skills with Sparkabilities 4 engaging and educational DVDs. Introduce your baby, toddler or preschooler to early concepts in math, reading, art, music, emotion, language and motor skills.

Z loved this series from the time he was just a tiny baby. When he was just a month or so old we realized that he had a condition called right torticollis. It is when the muscles on the right side of his neck are tight, causing him to lean to the right. Because of this we had to do tons of tummy time and exercises. 

Problem was tummy time was a nightmare since his head grew from the 10th to the 97th percentile within months, but his body was behind in the 3rd. Sparkabilities offered him a educational distraction, and encouraged him to lift his head. 

 3) MonkiSee and Memoflix DVDs
 MonkiSee is a fun and entertaining collection of baby DVD’s that expose babies to upbeat music, original poetry, lovable puppets and real world images.  The MonkiSee collection teaches your baby to identify their body parts, colors, shapes and more, all while learning to read.  The Monki See series is rich in language and has been proven to increase your baby’s vocabulary

My kids love these two series. The songs are catchy in the MonkiSee videos and most of the children in them are Krista(the creators) children. Its a family affair, and its fun to watch the kids grow as we watch each new DVD.

Memoflix are awesome flashcard presentations. I feel no guilt when I put these on for Little Z. He loves to watch them and they are basically a Doman Style flashcard presentation. Except that I can play them on my 55′ TV and don’t have to stumble around with huge clumsy flashcard. Nor to I have to spend time finding pictures. Its a bunch of great lessons put together for me.

4) Your Baby Can Learn(Formerly known as Your Baby Can Read):

This is a series that was created by Dr Titzer, who used this same method with both his daughters with great success. But in recent years, the FTC has been after them stating they are making false claims. This breaks my heart because I know through personal experience and from many other parents that I personally know who have used it, it works!

There are others awesome series from the company.

  • Your Child Can Read
  • Your Baby Can Discover
  • Your Child Can Discover
If you can get your hands on any of these, they are awesome learning tools. 

5) Suzie’s Piano Primer – Piano Lessons for Kids!

This is a popular DVD in my house. I believe it is one of two reason Wes skipped a level in piano(the other reason was BrillKids Little Musician). 

I would play it for him everyday before school. When he sat down for his first piano lesson within 5 mins she said “This book is way to easy for you!”. She bumped him to the next level because he knew the basics. He went on to complete that book and skipped one more level before we found which book was the correct level for him.

To this day his piano teacher is always complimenting him on his awesome Musical Sight Reading. I always say, “Its thanks to Suzie’s Piano Primer!”

 6) Signing Time Full Collection 1-13

My kids alway liked this series. I found it was able to teach them so much in the 30 mins. Rachel the host teaches your child the names of animals, actions, parts of the house, feelings, etc in a multisensory approach. 

First the word comes on the screen. For many kids, especially children whose parents are teaching them how to read, will learn to read the words in the show because they are shown in large, clear print. Then Rachel or the children Alex and Leah will teach your child how to sign the word. Afterwards videos of other children signing the word and pictures of the word will play in a little clip/video. 

My oldest who was speech delayed, learned a large part of his signing vocabulary from Signing Time. Now my youngest has the speech thing down, but these DVDs helped explained his vocabulary.

 7) Rachel and the Treeschoolers:

This is a new series that hasn’t been out long. Rachel Coleman from Signing Time created a series based on a  comprehensive curriculum for preschoolers. 

I purchased this series during the KickStarter campaign they ran early this year. Basically Rachel had approach some TV studios, but they turned down the series because it was “Too Educational.” So these DVDs have been completely funded by 2.400+ people who disagreed with this statement. 

Rachel Coleman and her TreeSchooler friends will actively engage your child in learning reading, math, science and social skills. 

I’m quite amazing with how they are able to teach more complex topics to young children. My barely 2 year old was running around the house singing ” Photosynthesis, Photosynthesis, Photosynthesis.”

8) Preschool Prep Series Collection
This is an awesome DVD series for kids 0-3 years old. The videos are very simple, yet educational. 

They teach:
– Letters           – Sight Words
– Numbers        – Phonics
– Shapes
– Colors

The one thing about these DVDs are they might not be very entertaining to children that have been exposed to a lot of mainstream kids TV shows like Dora or Spongebob. But for younger kids, it grabs their attention and will teach them all these subjects. 

My youngest learned all of the contents on these videos, with exception of the blends and digraphs by the age of 16 months! The nice part is that Preschool Prep also makes apps for the iPad, iPod and iPhone. I was able to use the videos to teach him, and the apps to give him time to practice what he learned. 

So again, its up to you as parents if your going to allow your child to watch TV. But from talking to many parents, TV is a part of their children’s lives. So if you do allow your children to watch TV, make it educational. 

Do you allow your kids to watch TV? If so, what shows do you allow them to watch. 

Disclaimer: I have done reviews for Sparkabilities and MonkiSee in the past. Beside receiving their DVDs for other past reviews, I have not received any other compensation.