baby proof: screen time.

March 6, 2019
ipad on a bed with a small bunny | screen time | reading my tea leaves

I avoid the the phrase screen time like the plague. I can’t fully articulate why it irks me so much, but I’m sure it has something to do with the fact that it’s so often used in the context of anxiety. We’re made to feel fearful of too much screen time, or the wrong kind of screen time, or the proper use of screen time. It feels like something that you can mess up. Or should feel badly about. An indication of a moral failing, or else a lack of imagination.

Is there such a thing as too much screen time? Sure. If screen time comes at the expense of all other kinds of activities then lots of signs point to yes. But I also think it’s possible to embrace digital media, and movies in particular, in a way that involves more fun and less hand-wringing. We’ve made choices around screen time that work for our family, but no doubt there are a million ways this could look depending on personal preferences, or circumstances, or both.

ipad on a bed with a small bunny | screen time | reading my tea leaves

Our kids don’t spend a whole lot of time looking at screens, or, as we call it, watching movies, but as winter wanes on and the ground remains frozen solid, it’s nice to have a quiet indoor activity we can embrace as a family. (And on a day when a parent needs to dash off a few emails and schools are closed and the slush is piled high, a movie is a nice way to snag a bit of quiet time, too.)

We were admittedly a little late to the game. Our first forays into the world of movies were with animated shorts, mostly just a handful of minutes long. Faye watched her first of these when she was 3 and a few months and we had a return flight from the West Coast and an eight-month-old little brother to contend with. For Silas, an older sister eager to share movies has meant we’ve more nearly followed along with the guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics, avoiding screen time altogether until just two.

Aside from our delayed start (which was really a rule for the parents, and not the kids) we don’t have any hard and fast rules or time limits around movie watching. We provide our kids with a smallish selection of movies and programs they can choose from that are 1) are not terribly painful for their parents or caregivers to also watch and 2) generally offer a simple, age-appropriate message that complements our family values. (Easier said than done, but not impossible!) From our kids’ perspective, I’m hopeful that we’ve managed to put screen time, for lack of a better word, on par with any other kind of activity that’s joyful and passes the time. Even if we try to prioritize their time away from the screen, I try to avoid transmitting this sense of hierarchy to my kids. I hope they see watching movies as a nice way to pass the time, same as reading books, or playing outside, or baking a cake. Like any of these other activities, watching a movie isn’t always available at precisely the moment when a kid would like it to be, or for how long they’d like it, but that’s okay.

We don’t have a TV in our apartment, so the kids generally watch movies on the eight-year-old iPad of James’s that miraculously still works. We often prop it on their dresser shelves so they can cozy up on Faye’s bed, couch-style, and watch it with a bit of distance.

In terms of the movies themselves, we’ve had lots of luck with sweet animated shorts and have introduced a few feature-length classics to Faye, like Mary Poppins and Sound of Music (even though she’s yet to make it through to the end). We generally avoid shows with trademarked characters, with the exception of a few old Sesame Street skits. It’s a whole other conversation, perhaps, but I’m exhausted by the way that our consumer culture markets goods to young kids and so I try to just avoid that stuff altogether. (Let it be known that all of these trademarked characters are not at all lost on Faye. When she spots them around the city, she’s very eager to point out all things Frozen or PawPatrol, despite never having watched either.) So far we’ve found essentially all Disney feature-length films to be too intense age-wise. Faye saw Coco in the theatre when it came out and she was only 3.5, and the first half of Moana on a plane ride, but has since declared both too scary for any reasonable person to dare watch.

In case it’s helpful for anyone else, here’s a shortlist of the movies we’ve enjoyed watching with young kiddos:

Short Shorts

Lava

Piper

La Luna

Moe Goes to the Beach

The Little Bird and the Caterpillar

Animated Animals – Short Films for Kids

Less Short Shorts

The Snowy Day

Ernest & Celestine

Lost and Found

Stick Man

The Snowman

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

Shows

Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood

What about all of you? Favorite movies to watch with little ones? Different approaches in your family? We’re especially on the lookout for sweet movies featuring kids of color and LGBTQI families, in case anyone has a good recommendation.

PS. Last month we went to the annual BAM Kid’s Film Festival, which was such a delightful way to spend a winter’s afternoon and such a great introduction to movies. Highly recommend to anyone local! (Ditto checking out your local indie theater for any great kids’ programming.)

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113 Comments

  • Reply Joanne March 6, 2019 at 12:13 pm

    Along with Mr. Rogers, another beloved for us is Reading Rainbow.

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    • Reply ERIN BOYLE March 6, 2019 at 12:16 pm

      Ah, loved this as a kid. Where do you watch?

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      • Reply hannah March 6, 2019 at 1:46 pm

        tangentially, Levar Burton’s podcast of short fiction for adults is fantastic! it’s called “Levar Burton Reads” and at the end of each episode he closes by saying “But you don’t have to take my word for it.” Not embarrassed to say that his voice saying that phrase gives me a flood of nostalgia that chokes me up every time!

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        • Reply Kimberly March 6, 2019 at 2:10 pm

          I second (or third?) the recommendation of Puffin Rock. The animation is a lovely, folk art style and the two main characters- who are adorable puffins!- have a precious sibling dynamic. All available in Netflix.

          In a similar animation style is the absolutely wonderful movie “Song of the Sea.” It was the first movie we introduced our eldest to and quickly became a family favorite in general. It is a unique find among children’s movies- not computer animated and no flat “bad guy.” Rather, the “villain” is a mother who wanted to take her child’s heartbreak away and in doing so took away all emotion. It is a beautiful, redemptive, whimsical movie. And again presents a very sweet sibling dynamic. Highly recommend!

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          • Marie March 6, 2019 at 5:45 pm

            Well, those were going to be my two recommendations. Delighted to see these Irish shows recommended by others!

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    • Reply Cassie March 8, 2019 at 10:02 am

      From a family that’s had more tv time than I’d like to admit this week (flu!!), wanted to share two great shows for pre-schoolers that you might like: Daniel Tiger (PBS, Mister Rogers spin off teaching empathy) and Tumbleleaf (Amazon Prime, all about exploration outdoors). Good to keep in your back pocket for sick days or long flights. ✌

  • Reply Deana March 6, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    This list is really helpful and timely, thank you! Before our daughter was born, my husband and I decided to avoid screen time and movies until she turned 5 ( exception chatting with Grandparents too far away for regular visits on Skype). She will be 5 soon, but a younger brother ( just 3) means that screen time needs to carefully considered.
    Wow though, no screen time is really, really hard. It requires more involved parenting, but I see a tangible difference in how my kids play. My daughter has developed a love of piano, and will often play for a cumulative hour a day. And stories! We are thankful for libraries.

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    • Reply ERIN BOYLE March 6, 2019 at 7:19 pm

      No doubt that limiting screen time impacts the caregiving. We’re so grateful for amazing care givers who supported us and our kids in their earliest years. That said: I truly believe that it’s entirely possible to have kids who are exposed to movies and the like far earlier than I introduced them to my kids who are still masters of play, lovers of the arts, story aficionados, et cetera, et cetera!

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      • Reply Mirva March 9, 2019 at 8:05 am

        Thank you for this incredibly sensible piece in a matter that has many of us parents completely conflicted, and also for this comment that recognizes some screen-time probably hurts no one. My daughter, aged 9, was allowed to watch selected children’s shows and movies since before she was 2, I think, but always within a time limit and in the presence of parents. I remember feeling overwhelmingly guilty of letting her watch tv sometimes, because it’s so frowned upon these days.

        Like we did those days, we continue to discuss with her everything she sees on tv/online now that she’s allowed to watch commercial tv and YouTube (sometimes by herself but not without us being aware of what she’s watching). She’s grown into a mindful consumer of media who, as per her own request, now has a specific day once a week for screentime to have more time for other interests on screen free days — reading, arts, ukulele, piano, playing with friends, scouting and outdoors etc. Turns out having some screentime as a tiny kid didn’t really ruin her at all!

        PS. We also love Ghibli studio movies though I wouldn’t recommend them to kids as young as yours, apart from Totoro perhaps.

  • Reply Ros March 6, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    We do minor screen time – we watch movies as a family (maybe once or twice a month – I’m just not that into TV and would rather read, as a default, so it doesn’t strike me as an option all that often) and they watch an episode of TV one or two nights a week (not more, though – not because I’m opposed, but because they turn into demanding howler monkeys when it’s more, and decent behavior is more of a priority!)

    Thanks for the list of suggestions! To add to your list – if your kids haven’t seen Octonauts, it’s quite adorable, fairly educational, genuinely sweet, and available on FB. And the shorts are about 12 minutes long, so that creates easily-implemented time limits.

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    • Reply Ros March 6, 2019 at 12:36 pm

      Argh. Available on NETFLIX, where was my brain…

      • Reply ERIN BOYLE March 6, 2019 at 12:37 pm

        Oh, awesome!

        • Reply Joleen Fuller March 6, 2019 at 2:40 pm

          Sarah and Duck! Super sweet and imaginative girl and her funny duck. Quirky and British and sweet. Each episode is about 8 min. My 3.5 year old son loves it for plane rides or sick days.

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          • Rebecca Ringquist March 6, 2019 at 4:14 pm

            My kiddo loves Sarah and Duck as well. It’s really dear.

          • Sara March 6, 2019 at 8:31 pm

            Thank you for your insight and sharing how you handle media in your home. We have a 4 year old that is very fearful of most mainstream movies and tv shows but have found that nature programs are a great option for our family. Planet Earth and similar type documentaries that feature animals are a hit!

  • Reply Liz March 6, 2019 at 12:47 pm

    I’m all for embracing digital media! Especially when chosen with care. My special needs son has been able to learn American Sign Language (ASL) through these wonderful online videos called “Signing Time”. They are a little dated and quite silly, but my technically speaking “non-verbal” son (we prefer the term “uniquely verbal”) now has somewhere between 150-200 signs that he has learned primarily through these videos. They helped teach my husband and I ASL as well. They truly gave my son a “voice” and me a much needed break.

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    • Reply ERIN BOYLE March 6, 2019 at 12:54 pm

      So great!

      • Reply Callie Avis March 6, 2019 at 4:17 pm

        Little Bear is a favorite of ours. Very gentle and enjoyable for everyone

  • Reply Kristina March 6, 2019 at 12:50 pm

    For movies we really enjoy Studio Ghibli, “My Neighbour Totoro” is a favourite of my 7, 5 and 4 year olds.

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    • Reply ERIN BOYLE March 6, 2019 at 12:55 pm

      Ah, yes! Have never seen but have heard such great things.

      • Reply Angela March 6, 2019 at 2:39 pm

        Ah! You have the words for the feelings I haven’t been able to put to words. Yep, my 2.5 year old watches screens. Usually it’s Daniel Tiger when Dad is on a business trip and Mom needs to get ready for work. I don’t love it, but I have used the catchy songs to get him to try new foods. We also use a screen on long trips (2+ hours). I try not to hype it up or make it seem ‘bad.’ He does a pretty decent job self-regulating, too!

    • Reply Sarah March 6, 2019 at 1:59 pm

      My daughter loves My Neighbour Totoro! I find myself singing the theme song to my self regularly, then she’ll chime in.

    • Reply Nancy March 6, 2019 at 9:20 pm

      Ponyo is also great! A bit more plot driven than Totoro, and very very cool animation.

  • Reply julie March 6, 2019 at 12:55 pm

    I am 100% with you on this whole post, how lovely to hear.

    “Puffin Rock” is an Irish show that you can find on Netflix, and we love the British “Sarah and Duck” (sadly removed from Netflix several months ago, but here’s hoping it returns). Both have slow pacing, none of that manic energy that is so pervasive in SO much of kids’ programming. Highly recommended! So, so charming.

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    • Reply ERIN BOYLE March 6, 2019 at 1:01 pm

      So glad to know. Yes to the slow!

    • Reply Audrey March 6, 2019 at 3:48 pm

      My 2.5 year old LOVES Puffin Rock! Such a sweet little show.

  • Reply GG March 6, 2019 at 1:02 pm

    My children are a little older, ages 11-3 and it only gets more difficult to manage all of this as their social lives develop further outside of our sphere of influence. However, we found starting young with teaching them to manage their interactions with screens to be helpful. Our 8 yo and 5yo children love some newer PBS offerings including Peg + Cat (which has great puns and music for the adults) and Wild Kratts.

    My 11 yo now researches a show or online game his is interested it and comes armed with data to discuss his options. He has become a big consumer of Common Sense Media. Using the Internet to research a topic of interest, definitely a skill to develop!

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    • Reply ERIN BOYLE March 6, 2019 at 1:10 pm

      I’m sure! Love the picture of your 11-year-old presenting his data-backed arguments!

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    • Reply Stacy Hyatt March 6, 2019 at 3:10 pm

      Yes to “Peg + Cat”! It’s so smart, sweet, and actually funny. We don’t watch it often, but when we have my husband and I both actually laugh at Cat (his comedic timing is golden). It’s such a creative and simple way to teach basic math concepts, and the animation style is very clever.

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  • Reply Rebecca | Seven2Seven8 March 6, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    We are relaxed about the quantity of television and restrict the kids’ use of personal devices (we have three under 4). My favorites for very young children are Finding Dory (movie) and Sarah & Duck (TV show, now only on Prime, but formerly free through Netflix). We also enjoy Peppa Pig and Ben & Holly, which are funny for the adults a lot of the time, too. Mom and Dad enjoy television, and so do the children. We talk about what we’re watching, and the big kids (almost four) are learning to negotiate who chooses what we watch. We’re pretty comfortable with allowing them to choose from the kid friendly apps through our Roku/DirecTV NOW/Prime subscriptions (PBS Kids, Nick Jr., Disney Jr., and most of the kid programming through Prime Video), and we help them choose things they enjoy through Netflix (which has a kids option we use) and YouTube (through the TV only, with restricted mode and without the YouTube Kids format). The marketing of certain characters is unreal. Like your children, they could probably name all of the Paw Patrol characters before they ever watched an episode of the show!

    We encourage outside play whenever it is appropriate and as much as possible and they wander away from and back to what they are watching in the midst of other creative play regularly. Though my distrust is highest with YouTube, we actually have grown to enjoy the nursery rhymes (Little Baby Bum and similar) which is kind of endearing once you get past the initially-weird animation. My children sing the nursery songs all the time (and I learned some of the tunes for songs in our books I did not previously know) and I think it helped with language development and reinforces concepts about cleaning up, sharing, being careful/cautious when appropriate, being kind, etc. And when we’re stuck inside, the Kiboomers dance videos (Freeze Dance, Dinosaur Stomp, and 100 Dance) are fabulous ways to get the wiggles out – we all enjoy dance parties!

    I am pretty rigid with their use of personal devices. My old iPad has some kid-oriented drawing and matching apps, etc. and they ask regularly to use it, and I just calmly reinforce that it’s not an “everyday” tool/toy. We don’t use them at restaurants or on short trips. We never watch television programming or movies at home on them (because we have a TV so everyone can participate). And they generally are very upset when they have to share or their use time is up, and I don’t want the battle every day. The protests in response to “not today” are much less than the ones to “your time is up”, so that is guiding the frequency of use right now! That said, I fully admit I use my phone more than I should and should model better use there, and suspect most parents are in the same boat.

    I suspect we are more relaxed with TV time than a lot of parents, but I have bright, creative, kind, healthy, and active kids, and as long as we’re not experiencing problems connected with the amount or type of consumption, we’ll continue to approach it this way.

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    • Reply Lindsey March 6, 2019 at 2:44 pm

      We are more relaxed too with TV, and less tablet time. I am with you on I don’t want the fight of taking the tablet away. It’s not worth it. My children also enjoy other activities and are not glued to the TV all day, so I don’t find it to be a problem.

    • Reply Jen March 7, 2019 at 10:26 am

      Canadian “Stella and Sam,” a brother-sister duo with a few books to tie in. Their relationship is very patient and imaginative. Quiet instrumental music and understandable speech. Prime or local library DVD.

      • Reply Erin C March 8, 2019 at 9:19 pm

        Yes to Stella and Sam!! It’s great!!

      • Reply Rebecca | Seven2Seven8 March 13, 2019 at 3:56 pm

        Oh! Yes to Stella and Sam, though it didn’t grab them quite as much as me last we tried it. They did enjoy Charlie and Lola (BBC/Prime) quite a bit recently, and I should try S+S again (I liked it – the sweater episode, in particular, is adorable). Glad this resonated. I always feel like I’m out a bit on a limb saying “uh, I’m okay with the television” in screen-time posts! I fully salute those who manage less!

    • Reply Sophie March 24, 2019 at 6:50 pm

      We too are much more relaxed with “screen time ” than other parents we know. It’s not every day, but when they’re sick and home from kindergarten it sure beats the usual fights over who’s playing with which you (or not!). We only watch things that parents can stand too, and which are also educational or teach values. Our current favourites include Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures, Fireman Sam and Chuggington.

  • Reply Shanna March 6, 2019 at 1:21 pm

    Very much aligned with your movie watching philosophy and offerings. May I suggest Sarah & Duck? Next to Mister Rogers, it’s the best ever kid’s programming I’ve ever come across. So good!

  • Reply Lexie March 6, 2019 at 1:28 pm

    “Our kids don’t spend a whole lot of time looking at screens, or, as we call it, watching movies..”

    Thank you so much for writing this sentence, lol. I reallllly hate that phrase too. I would rather name the specific action the child is doing (watching movies, playing games, drawing on an app, etc.) than dump it in a general, anxiety riddled phrase.

    I don’t have children, but I completely support this and will bookmark it for the future.

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    • Reply ERIN BOYLE March 6, 2019 at 1:37 pm

      Ha! Admittedly we haven’t entered the app or game phase at all yet, so the only activity is really watching movies, but yes! Same!

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      • Reply Brianna Byers March 6, 2019 at 9:34 pm

        Love this! Your list of longer shorts is basically our winter rotation (plus Charlotte’s web and the snowman +snowdog version). Will have to check out the shorts! My oldest is 4 and we just recently(occasionally!) started allowing him to watch the SciShow for Kids on YouTube. We are all finding the episodes to be fun and educational and they encourage quite interesting conversations!

  • Reply Nora March 6, 2019 at 1:31 pm

    We have enjoyed watching Milo and Otis, Small Change (French title: L’Argent de Poche, I think), and Winged Migration with our elder child on sick days since she was about 2 1/2 – all ‘cinema verite.’ For small amounts of time when one of us parents must give our attention to a call or something and she can’t settle in with an activity we turn on a Sparkle Story (to listen to) or a YouTube video of backyard birds and squirrels (the ones meant for )

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    • Reply Nora March 6, 2019 at 1:32 pm

      …meant for cats, that should say!

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE March 6, 2019 at 1:35 pm

      Ha! Backyard birds! Love that.

  • Reply Tim Sullivan March 6, 2019 at 1:35 pm

    ugh. MERCI pour cet article! With our nugget due in May, this has been an ongoing discussion… And with all things baby, why is everyone so weird and dogmatic? Thanks for shining some light.

    xo
    T

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    • Reply ERIN BOYLE March 6, 2019 at 1:38 pm

      hahaha. why *is* everyone so weird? so excited for you guys!

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  • Reply Michela March 6, 2019 at 1:37 pm

    Not too short not too long I recommend Zog (about a princess who just wants to be a doctor) and room on the broom. Also the Gruffalo is great. They are on BBC in UK not sure in US. And then any CBeeebies program. They are just good. A lot of CBeebies shows are on Netflix. Paddington is also a favorite.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE March 6, 2019 at 1:40 pm

      Oh! Need to check out Zog! Alas, Paddington and The Gruffalo are “too scary!” for Faye so far, but they’re on the back burner!

  • Reply Janette March 6, 2019 at 1:40 pm

    Our approach with our three boys has been very similar, although they are a little older now than your children. My boys all loved the British shows Shaun the Sheep and Kipper when they were younger. Now they really enjoy classic animated Disney movies like Robin Hood, The Three Musketeers, and The Sword in the Stone.

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    • Reply Kelly March 6, 2019 at 7:01 pm

      When I was a kid, my parents censored my Disney movies, so I’ve never seen a villain. I do wish I had a nice middle ground, but I loved “sing along songs”, which were basically the highlights reel of the movies. I also love magic schoolbus to this day!

  • Reply Rebecca P. March 6, 2019 at 1:47 pm

    I have three children just-turned-5 and under, so I look for calm content with collaborative and kind characters. We enjoy Puffin Rock on Netflix, Lily’s Driftwood Bay purchased on iTunes (great content on environmental care, repurposing things, and imagination), and Kipper the Dog on dvd.

    I also try to limit intake of trademarked characters, but have made an exception for Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Of course, it is modeled after Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and shares many of its traits, but ironically, he had huge issue with marketing things to children. On another note, the book The Good Neighbor about Rogers’ life is a great read!

    We recently have become aware of some isolation our daughter is experiencing with her school friends because of our choices (she hasn’t seen any Disney princess films, etc). I would love to read a post on this. As adults we can choose not to watch shows that are popular and deal with the break room cluelessness we experience, particularly if we believe in the values behind our decision. It can be harder to explain these nuances to a child in a sensitive way that helps uncover a bigger picture.

    As an aside: I’m frustrated by content available only through Amazon, as we do not have an account (because of my qualms with the corporation itself). But alas, I shall be content with what I have.

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    • Reply ERIN BOYLE March 6, 2019 at 2:05 pm

      Thanks so much for these recommendations! So glad to find more great options off of Amazon! I admit that I’ve heard of Daniel Tiger, but for some reason never made the connection that it was related to the original Mr. Rogers. As for the princess/trademarked stuff, for my part I’ve tried at least to just have straightforward chats with Faye about it when it comes up. I grew up with similar kinds of limits and so I’m not really concerned about longterm negative side effects. I didn’t realize CareBears was a television show until I went to college, but I don’t think this negatively impacted my childhood. Whether it’s the movies we watch or any other choice we make that might not follow exactly the mainstream, I generally try to explain simply that something or other—be it not eating meat, or not buying lots of plastic, or not watching certain shows—isn’t something that our family participates in, but that other folks might not make the same choice and that’s okay, too. I try to stay as neutral as possible but I can’t say I’ve always done this perfectly. Faye is delighted to share her great enthusiasm for Elsa with me, in part, no doubt, because I once mentioned that she wasn’t my favorite character. Silly in part because I haven’t seen Frozen, either! Anyway: All this to say that we’re all muddling through, imperfectly, and I think that’s okay.

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      • Reply L March 6, 2019 at 3:56 pm

        The original fairytale, The Snow Queen by H. C. Andersen is definitely worth a read though.

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      • Reply Erin March 6, 2019 at 9:01 pm

        I was put off by the animation of Daniel Tiger initially, but once I looked into it and realized how closely the creators have tried to adhere to the original Mr. Rogers’s philosophy, I gave it a second go. Excellent for both my boys (almost 5 and just over 2) and for discussions about social and emotional issues.

        • Reply Rebecca | Seven2Seven8 March 13, 2019 at 3:58 pm

          I agree with Erin about the animation, and I find Daniel a bit whiney at times, but I cannot tell you how often those little jingles come in handy with a house full of preschoolers.

  • Reply M March 6, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    Ditto to Puffin Rock! It’s so sweet and gentle. My 4.5 year-old loves Tumble Leaf. Also, old-school Sesame Street. They made a wonderful effort to be inclusive.

    I was born in 1983 and I watched SO MUCH TV. I learned to tell time based on what show was on next. When I rented The Little Mermaid from the video store I watched it 21 times before returning it. Somehow, I managed to get a graduate degree, I recycle and pay my taxes. It’s all OK. But media isn’t what it was in the ’80s and ’90s and I think it’s much more important to guard content instead of time.

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  • Reply Susanne March 6, 2019 at 1:52 pm

    Its’s so sad that even though I tried, I did not find any of the movies you recommend on Netflix or Amazon. We live in Germany and I had no idea that some things simply are not available for us. I guess it is all about the rights and ownership and stuff, but still sad! That said, the Gruffalo is considered very, very scary by my 4-year-old (with the 2yo just watching each and anything without uttering a single word…).

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE March 6, 2019 at 2:06 pm

      Ha, yes! Faye won’t watch the Gruffalo either!

      • Reply Cathérine March 7, 2019 at 2:29 pm

        Hi I‘m from Germany, too. And, well, this happens to be a long road for us, too. Still haven’t found the right balance as I tend to say ‚No’ too many times. So, we’ve tried instead a regular family movie night. I can recommend the characters „Charlie and Lola“ by Lauren Child. And, for the German readers – I can recommend a TV-Show we watch online – because we don’t owe a tv, too – „Anna/Paula und die wilden Tiere“ (25min, every serie Anna will present a special animal or animal group). So, it‘s an animal docu for kids. Quite interesting for adults. And, of course some of the Studio Ghibili-movies we also like watching as a family (depending on the topic, I still reserve some for the future, because they are too sad and exciting). And, because of the constant advertising, no youtube except for live music and then it‘s more listening than watching.
        I especially appreciate your acting with – ok our family doesn‘t participate in this or that and others act different, Erin. So wise! Because, I did the mistake with constantly explaining why we are not doing it and that was too much. I realized that they can not see the whole picture sometimes and so I felt obliged to value/judge other peoples acting or non-acting. This was a big mistake. To be clear, I was so afraid that they will not understand and support my/our decision. As I realized that this is not going to happen I changed my „strategy“ and try to be more open and make clear, that things like that are my opinions and decisions and correspond to my values.

  • Reply Kirsten March 6, 2019 at 2:02 pm

    We technically have always had “screen time” with our daughter, because we’ve always talked with grandparents and family on Skype since birth. She’s 18 months now, and we don’t do anything other than that and sometimes letting her look through pictures on our phones. Mostly I notice how agitated it can seem to make her and she goes absolutely bananas when it’s time to put it away, so I try to simply avoid it altogether. I still think she’s too young. Really REALLY looking forward to the family movie phase of parenting though! I can’t wait until she’s old enough that we can all snuggle in with popcorn and watch classics!

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  • Reply Amelia March 6, 2019 at 2:13 pm

    Oh man, it’s refreshing to read a relaxed and guiltless approach to watching shows. As a stay at home parent who babysits often and spends most days in the company of small children from dawn till bedtime, I am SO GLAD for the option. I’ve found that a little 30ish minute rest with a good show does wonders for my kids, and when it’s over, everyone is (usually) happy to get back to playing again. So much better than running ourselves to the ground and having meltdowns by 3pm. Myself included.

    Around here we really love Stella and Sam on Amazon prime. Thirteen episodes, I think? We’ve watched them all many times. It’s a sweet, simple show about a brother and sister who get along and use their imaginations, and…that’s it. A cute show about playing when my kids are too tired to play themselves.

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    • Reply ERIN BOYLE March 6, 2019 at 2:16 pm

      Yes! Very much in favor of avoiding the FFM (FULL FAMILY MELTDOWN)!