We all know that when it comes to toddler screen time, less is best. But if you do decide to turn on the television, you may discover that not all screen time is created equal. Young children fare better when exposed to quiet, calm, loving shows with gentle voices and images instead of the loud, raucous, swiftly-changing images often aimed at young viewers. Here are a few low-key favorites that won't overwhelm a young viewer:
Mr. Roger's Neighborhood is a perennial childhood favorite, and Mr. Roger's warm, charming voice practically invented gentle television. The modern-day animated spin-off Daniel Tiger is another winner.
Masha and the Bear is a Russian import and YouTube favorite all about the sweet relationship between a little girl and the wise, older bear who acts like a furry father figure.
Another PBS favorite, Caillou follows the adventures of four-year-old Caillou, an inquisitive, kind boy whose real-life troubles with things like waiting, sharing, and taking turns are relatable to young viewers.
Featuring beautiful illustrations by Maurice Sendak, Little Bear is a warm, quiet series based on the popular series of books. With his friends Duck, Owl, Cat, and Hen, Little Bear faces real-life concerns like loneliness or fear with a lively imagination.
Expert Advice: The American Academy of Pediatrics advises no screen time at all for children under two, and no more than two hours a day for older children, though they are currently revising those guidelines to better fit our increasingly digital environment.