Television Programs for Toddlers

Updated on March 05, 2014
J.K. asks from Los Angeles, CA
17 answers

I need toddler's TV program recommendations because I know nothing about children's shows. My daughter is 19 months old, and until last week we had a strict no TV policy. I wanted to keep it that way until she turned 2, but recently, my husband has been letting our daughter watch a bit of TV when I'm not home. Since I'm a full-time working mom and I'm out of the house during the day, I really can't do anything to stop him. And I can kind of see his point that sometimes, he must get things done, but she's extra clingy or she's in her experimental/exploratory mood and she must be watched every second to keep her out of harms way. Fine. But I want to make sure that she's watching decent shows and nothing that will cause her anxiety (when she was watching Winnie the Pooh, she kept saying "uh-oh" repeatedly with a genuine look of concern when Pooh got stuck, but the show failed to show Pooh getting out before moving onto the next story, probably causing confusion for my daughter). Maybe programs with very simple storyline that's easy to follow or something educational? She's seen Winnie the Pooh and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood so far. Any recommendation would be much appreciated. Thank you!

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Dallas on

You are pretty safe with anything on PBS....Sesame Street, Daniel Tiger, Thomas, Caillou. There are other shows that are terrific, but they are intended for older kids and it probably won't hold her attention. There are no commercials. And it will be easy to limit tv and feel ok with what she is watching.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

PBS Sprout, Disney Jr. and Nick Jr. are great. You might not get those channel. If you don't, you might want to look at their webites to see what the shows are. Their shows are all on the regular channels (PBS, Disney and Nickolodean), you'll just need to find out when.

Sadly, The Backyardigans are no longer on tv. This was heartbreaking for my 5 year old. Thankfully we have DVR, and we still had 15 to 20 episodes saved. He's been very in to The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Jake and the Neverland Pirates, so we might be out of the woods.

Don't feel too bad about a little tv. I often wonder whether I taught my oldest his colors or Mickey did.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Chicago on

Dora, Super Why, Word World

PBS has the best stuff. I'd avoid the more commercial channels, or just get videos out of the library if you don't already stream your shows.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Spokane on

my daughter only watched nick jr shows. they are slower and fitted more for the younger age. shes almost 7 and still loves wow wow wubzy, bubble guppies, wonder pets, backyardigans etc. she also likes chime time, curious gorge, super why and word world.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Backyardigans is a great show (Nick Jr). My son LOVED it at that age. It's about a group of five friends (each a different animal) that use their imaginations to go on adventures from their backyard. Lots of cute singing, no annoying characters, very fun.

Super Why & Word World (both on PBS, I think) are great for teaching letters. They have good stories too.

Doc McStuffins (Disney Jr) is a good show about a girl who can fix any toy. She has a doctor's clinic and her toys come to life to help her repair the broken toys. It's cute and also good for showing kids that doctors don't have to be scary.

Sophia The First - a princess show (Disney Jr) about a girl who was a peasant, but her mother marrried the king so now she's a princess. She has new siblings that help teach her the ways of the royal life.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Reading on

We watched brainy baby and baby Einstein videos. She started reading words at two, sentences and small books by 3. It meant that she was able to enjoy books, pictures and words, at a very early age by herself and there wasn't much need for tv beyond that. Our rule was always no brain candy and no commercials.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

When our son was a toddler, we stuck with dvds. I didn't really like anything on network. We had three Mister Rogers dvds (the one on friendship and love is wonderful and our son LOVED it, repeatedly); a Hap Palmer Babysongs (it just shows songs and babies-- used it for when I was taking a shower); a Preschool Power dvd (they are a Montessori based series which also features kids doing ordinary things-- fascinating to little kids) and some music performance/concert videos from a few pretty 'tame' artists (Bela Fleck; Crowded House; David Byrne...)....

At that age, my son didn't like Sesame Street or 'story' type shows, he really liked seeing older kids (real ones, not cartoon) and music. However, we avoided shows which featured relational aggression, such as Arthur-- too early to make sense of it.

I want to add, if your husband is using this as a sort of babysitter (and that's okay, so long as it's not for huge chunks of time-- we all need a break) -- make sure that the room she's left in is completely babyproofed. I had a gate between the living room and hallway and a kitchen swinging door we could wedge shut. Because I knew the living room was very, very safe, I felt comfortable leaving him so I could take a shower.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I would stick with things like Disney Jr, PBS Kids and Nick Jr. You might also encourage him to use videos and YouTube. A DVD is a "known quantity". We bought some Dragon Tales in DVD. Sesame Street has their own YouTube channel. And Netflix I think shows Timmy Time (very gentle for little kids).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

yo gabba gabba, blues clues, sesame street, curious george etc.

At this age, a DVD or netflix would probably be best. Even certain PBS kids content, like superwhy, word girl and arthur had too much of a story line for our son to pay attention to for more than 2 minutes.

F. B.



answers from Baton Rouge on

You're overthinking this. Not showing Pooh getting unstuck is not going to confuse your daughter. It's just a cartoon.
At that age, my kid watched pretty much anything I watched, and none of it adversely affected her intellect or scarred her for life.



answers from McAllen on

Nick Jr.
Disney Jr.



answers from Dallas on

My boys really like Kipper, they watch it off Netflix. I like it as well, it's just a calm cartoon with nice mellow characters.



answers from Kansas City on

My Grandkids, age 4 and 20 months watch Caillou, Bubble Guppies and Olivia. They all seem to have educational properties.
Fresh Beat Band is a favorite also for the 4 year old, who actually got to go back stage and meet them at their concert in November.


answers from New York on

PBS is good but they do have some commercials (not as many as regular tv but they do have them). Go to some tag sales, library book sale, or flea markets or check craigs list and pick up some used kid show dvds.

My granddaughter is the same age and she loves Bubble Guppies. She also likes Curious George although I don't think she follows the story lines at all.



answers from Pittsburgh on

You pretty much can't go wrong if you stick with Sprout, if you have that channel - it's the all-kid show version of PBS.

SuperWhy, Blue Clues, all those good ones are on there.

Of course there is also Disney Junior. Some of those shows are fine too - Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins. They are not as educational as the PBS shows, in my opinion. But I've not seen anything inappropriate on them.



answers from Chicago on

My 22 month old son gets nervous, and even sometimes scared while watching certain shows that I thought would be appropriate. He started sobbing during an episode of Bubble Guppies when a puppy was stuck in a tree and a firefighter came to rescue him.

I now stick to Barney, the Wiggled, and Dora the Explorer. He likes the music on the first two and seems to enjoy the repetition on Dora.


answers from Houston on

I highly recommend PBS. We like that there no commercials and the programs mostly are educational, gentle and well done. I have enough trust in PBS I don’t feel the need to prescreen what I turn on. I confidently tune in and know their programing is quality. For times when PBS isn't showing cartoons, I bought a DVD of 'Word World' or we will use YouTube to find PBS shows. If you watch PBS cartoons exclusively and then watch other cartoons, it might be surprising at the potentially scary, mean, cruel or otherwise less than appealing content of the other shows. More than once my three year old has been upset by non-PBS shows and I have raised an eyebrow or two over the content. A problem I have never encountered with any program on PBS. Remember kids mimic what they see so the language and content matters. Good luck.

Oh, one other thought. My oldest didn't really care for story type shows until he was a little older than two. Before that he preferred music. We would tune into opera or ballet (YouTube again). He liked the movement, people, costumes and music but since his attention span was short, he could be busy playing while it was going in the background.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions