As much as screen-time isn’t recommended for children below 2 years old, in our household, it is somewhat inevitable because we do not have a domestic helper and I work from home. All her screen time is supervised by my father, who watches and explains them to her. The crux is to utilise YouTube as an educational tool and NOT use it as a convenient babysitter. We bring her downstairs to skate, kick soccer and if indoors, let her doodle, play with her train set, build bricks, puzzles and other non-electronic toys. When we’re out for meals, the tablet never follows. That’s one rule I intend to keep to strictly.
She is currently able to recognise colours, shapes and certain alphabets. We’re certain most of her knowledge came from watching the same few YouTube videos repeatedly. Should I be proud of her achievements, or ashamed that it wasn’t me who taught her all that? Mama is conflicted.
Our favourite YouTube Channels
We mostly let her watch videos at home, but if you need to watch them offline, use a video converter to download the videos from YouTube and save them into your phone for emergencies or those long trips on trains and buses.
Dave and Ava
Dave and Ava is #1 on the list. Their videos are self produced and well made. Dave and Ava are two children who are never seen wearing anything other than their animal jumpsuits and appear in every single video.
This is the colours song which Elise listens to (WARNING: the lyrics of the song do not flow with the tune). She’s so familiar with this channel, she now goes “No” to make my dad skip videos. Nursery rhymes, action songs, you name it. The free YouTube videos come with intermittent ads urging you to purchase their application to watch their videos offline, ad-free. The free version is good enough for us.
Little Baby Bum
Little Baby Bum is also a self-produced channel with animated characters. I quite like it because there’s a standard set of characters appearing in the videos e.g. there’s this little girl called Mia who had a little dog instead of a lamb who also bakes cakes in 1, 2, What Shall We Do? which provides continuity for followers of the channel. This channel has a video of 12 different versions of The Wheels on the Bus (how is that even possible?!) for children currently addicted to the song. We’ve all been through that phase…
Little Baby Bum Junior
Little Baby Bum Junior is targeted at older children and focuses on life events that they encounter, like losing their first tooth, having a new sibling and growing up. This channel produces original tunes and everything is animated smoothly much like a music video. It’s frequently updated with new videos every week or so.
We show Elise the Korean version on weekends to expose her to the Korean language. They also have videos in English. There are entire cartoons and short song clips. Elise now wants to name her brother Eddy after her favourite Pororo character.
We’ve just started watching this channel because of baby shark (doo doo doo doo doo baby shark doo doo doo doo doo) but I personally don’t really like it that much because there’re fairy tales like The Little Mermaid and Sleeping Beauty where they talk about how the prince falls in love with the princess and they live happily ever after… not exactly something I want my 2 year old to be obsessed over. They do have many Aesop Fable stories though.
Elise’s favourite character is actually the wolf which appears in the 3 Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood. She’ll mimic how the wolf blows on the houses and do a jiggle to show how the pigs escape to the next house.
- Screen time can be made educational but an adult should be on hand to explain certain scenes to the kids (playful shoves v.s. violent shoves, snatching, characters falling down and getting hurt…). This is also because there are perverts who edit scenes in otherwise innocuous nursery rhymes to scar the minds of young children. As the audio is unedited, if the child watches it unsupervised, the parent may not realise the kind of scene the child is being exposed to.
- Children should not be watching videos for the majority of their day. Mini couch potatoes are neither healthy nor cute.
- Ensure that your child is receiving enough social interaction throughout the day.
- Use YouTube Kids to prevent children from accessing undesirable content.