Suitable TV Viewing Screen Time

I know I know, young children shouldn’t get screen time! I have gone back and forth researching and debating with a geek like my husband who advocates, for fun, TV shows and video games that are great for developing creativity, hand-eye coordination, problem-solving etc. At the end of the day, it all comes down to the amount of screen time children are allowed on a daily basis. Lots of studies in America state too much screen time results in a shorter attention span in young children, but that is because those children get on average more than 2-hours of screen time a day. We tested out different lengths of screen exposure, and here is what we found worked for our kids:

  • Under 2-2.5 yrs old, 10-30 minutes of screen time is acceptable, perhaps in the 5-10 minute sessions spread throughout the day.
  • For 2.5+ yrs old, 30-45 minutes of screen time daily works well. They will watch TV for longer and longer until homework overwhelms them I guess. Add to this a 60-90 minutes movie on the weekend!

TV Shows for your Children

Since Netflix introduced the Chinese language audio option, Netflix is of course our favorite TV channel.

To watch Netflix in Chinese audio:

  • Go to a show
  • Click on settings (the comment-like box on the right bottom corner)
  • Choose Audio – Mandarin
  • Choose Subtitles – Mandarin if you want older children to read in Chinese as well
  • This selection is sticky, shows will play automatically in Mandarin in the future

We explored Netflix and here are our top picks for children’s shows with English AND Mandarin audio (updated Jan 1st 2018, listed in the order of suitable age):

Top 5 Children’s Shows in English and Mandarin For Children 0-3 Yrs (on Netflix):

  1. TeletubbiesFor very young babies, dubbed by very young children and super cute.
  2. Puffin RockFor toddlers, the animation is very cute, though my son lost interest when he was about 3 years old because it was getting too simple.
  3. Dinosaur TrainWho doesn’t love dinosaurs, this was my boy’s favorite.
  4. Peppa PigThis is my favorite show to watch with the kids. It is cute and the Chinese version is polite unlike the original show in English which has some naughty language and is presented with a strong accent. Great for young kids but my 5 year old would still watch it.
  5. Pororo The little PenguinLovely Korean show that follows the adventures of Pororo the little penguin who lives in a snowy village.

Top 5 Children’s Shows in English and Mandarin For Children 3+ Yrs (on Netflix):

  1. Justin TimeJustin encounters lots of real-world problems, and talks about sharing, focusing and collaborating.
  2. The DeepExploring the ocean, fighting evil, talking about family values – love it.
  3. Beat BugsA great show for preschoolers talking about young bug friends and what they explore every day.
  4. Julie’s Greenroom Kids’ version of musicals such as Glee, led by the lovely Julie Andrews. It is wonderful, reminds me of the powerful show by Mr Rogers: exploring friendship, emotions, love etc. One of my favorites! Although my children find the show rather slow, I still insist on them watching it.
  5. The Magic School BusThis is great for older kids, as they explore the universe in a cool transforming bus! They can probably watch this till much older as it goes into physics, science, maths, etc. It is also great to buy the set of books in Chinese, I have acquired so much more vocabulary from these set of books!

After watching all these wonderful TV shows, there are still tons and tons of movies you can watch on Netflix in both English and Mandarin through the audio tool we have showed you.

Happy watching!

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