Is it OK to let my preschooler watch videos in the morning before school?

Here's a secret: Almost all parents let their kids watch videos when they absolutely, positively have to get something done. That's OK. So long as your preschooler has plenty of active and imaginative playtime in addition to lots of time with a loving caregiver, she should be just fine.

Here are some easy ways to manage the time your preschooler spends watching TV or videos and to improve the quality of his or her viewing experience:

Choose mindfully. Preschool TV shows that offer real substance are out there -- you just have to find them. If you can, record the shows or add individual videos to a playlist so when an episode is over, your preschooler knows TV time is done.

Use the shows as a jumping-off point for related activities. Say there's a segment on Sesame Street about butterflies. Spend some time drawing butterflies or making them out of Play-Doh. When you can, visit a nature preserve, get some books or rent movies that delve deeper into the topic.

Split it up. Instead of two shows in the morning, make a deal with your child. One show before school and one show after (so you can make dinner!). Try these extra-gentle shows, some of which have short episodes that lend themselves to morning viewing.

Consider mixing things up. Many of the new apps available for smartphones and tablets provide a kind of hybrid experience of watching and interacting. Your preschooler is old enough to do a bit of self-directed learning for short periods.

Set some boundaries. Teach your preschooler to ask before turning on the TV or tablet and, if you can, how to turn them off after the show ends. Agree on a time or show limit

Use it as a reward. TV time only happens once your child is dressed and ready for school. 

Manage content. Consider subscribing to a specific channel your kid likes on YouTube or adding shows to a playlist. That way, your child will watch only the shows on his or her cue rather than clicking around on YouTube. 

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Comments

Kid, 11 years old

I have a sister who's a preschooler and as many of you know, preschoolers get addicted to literally anything. From peaches to screens to.. I guess school? Make them read books. In my opinion, since it's 2018, kids get plenty of screen-time at SCHOOL. Instead of watching the TV show, there may be a book version of the TV show and depending on the child's level of literacy, you can give them that book as a present or a prize. And if that's not possible. Make your own book and encourage your child to make their own book with pictures. Also, if that's not possible (even though it should be,) A time-limit can work. But I warn you, kids are clever..
Parent of an infant, 3, and 8 year old written by BubbleMachine101

I steal the remote and turn the episode off. I told Lil' Bit that the TV knows her daycare schedule and when it's time to leave it magically turns off. She's starting preschool soon so I'm expecting this won't be easy anymore. When my older daughter went to preschool she picked up a lot of sass.
Adult written by Michelle K.

I tried the tv in the am for a while when my kids first started school and quickly decided we needed to just cut that off. First, I tried the "no tv until you're ready rule," but the tv was just a problem. It was better for everyone to just keep it off. They are all teens now and we still have a no tv in the morning rule, and I am SO glad. No issues with tv distractions, and the kids don't even miss it because it hasn't been an option all these years.
Parent of an infant, 1, 4, 11, and 18+ year old written by Adrianna R.

We don't let our children watch T.V before school. It makes them not want to go school ("FIVE MORE MINUTES, THE DRAGON CAPTURED THE PRINCESS!") and makes them lazy.
Adult written by smooney2310

My son is very active and has a hard time sitting at a table and finishing his breakfast. I let him watch one show while he is eating but it has to be educational such as SuperWhy, Sesame Street, Octonauts, etc. When that show is over, TV time is over until late in the day when we can watch something together.