Updated: May 17
Screens can be a helpful tool. They can be a good distraction for our kids. They can be a good way to engage and entertain and educate our kids.
Now, as a parent and parenting expert, I am fully aware of the importance of human interaction and the impact of too much screen time on our kids, and I do agree, that kids should spend more time off screens then on, but there are times where using a screen can really help us and as long as that use is less often than often and your child isn’t watching digital content passively – where a child doesn’t need to think, be creative or be interactive with what they are watching, there are some great shows and apps about that are really not so bad, like the BabyTV app
BabyTV is a child friendly app for children age 4 and under, featuring songs, nursery rhymes games and shows for your child to watch and play– all focussed on making sure that your child learns, in a fun, age-appropriate way. The programmes have been made with child experts and there are zero ads.
The Mini Matinee series, feature characters for your child to get to know while telling a story from somewhere in the world, such as France, Yemen, Monaco and Italy. The stories are all 5 minutes long - so perfect a little one’s attention span, and take children on a trip around the world to show them where different food comes from and how certain foods, like pizza and French bread, came to be – ending with a suggestion that the stories may or may not be true, which gives parents a great opportunity to help their little one investigate different countries and cultures and work out what is true or false.
Charlie and the alphabet has episodes which focus on the letters of the alphabet, featuring objects all beginning with one letter. The episodes call the letters by their name and then give the appropriate sound, but in American English - Z is ‘ZEE’, so for UK parents this might be off putting, but Charlie also has a series on numbers which gives children a great introduction to numbers and counting.
There are some great games to play too, such as the matching game, balloon popping – there are a few of these, and a shape matching activity, all of which are useful to a child’s development in some way.
The app is very easy to navigate and once you have selected a show to watch, it is child-locked so little fingers can’t easily switch it off. There is a button which must be held down for two seconds, so if your child decides they want a different programme, you can easily switch it. I suspect a pre-schooler would be able to figure that out, but this can give them the independence to select what they want.
If your child particularly loves specific episodes, you can pop them in a 'favourites' folder, so that you can quickly access them without having to scroll back through the various sections to find them.
There is no timer on the app to show how long your child has been watching and I think that this would make a great addition. Often having a timer can help children cope better with their screen time ending and help them learn how to manage their time. Plus, a timer can also help parents keep tabs on how much time their child has had.
There are well over 40 shows in total, each with several episodes, plus night time songs, games and more, so there is plenty to choose from, with new content regularly added - good value if you choose to subscribe.
Would I recommend the app? Yes I would for those times when you are on the go in the car, or on transport, need a distraction or just need some peace and quiet, as long as parents remember the importance of reading stories to their child, singing songs and playing games with them and that an app doesn't replace this valuable time.
To find out more and to download the app, head to the Baby TV website