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The YouTube Advantage – Entertaining Your Toddler During Meals

You TubeAt about 6 months I knew my daughter would love watching television. Her father (me) was already a TV junky and it was only natural that she also inherit this trait.

By 1 year she was starting to have a preference on what shows she loved, with the clear front runner being Sesame Street.

While we are in our den the TV is always on and most of the time it is playing Sesame Street or other shows we have recorded on our DVR (Jack’s Big Music Show, Yo Gabba Gabba, Dora, Wonder Pets, and others). The lineup of shows provides endless entertainment for my daughter.

When we are at the dinner table and my daughter is sitting in her high chair, there is no television in site.

Now, most would say that this is healthy – too much television is probably bad for the child, both socially and for her vision. However, when you have a toddler who is throwing a fit over the dinner options and your third attempt at picaboo is not cutting it, you look for any solution for easing the tension, keeping quiet, and actually completing the meal.

So my dilemma was the lack of entertainment sources in our dining room, but it got me thinking about my laptop computer and wireless internet in the house as a viable alternative. During one of the aforementioned tantrums, I grabbed my laptop, placed it on the table and immediately went to websites for the various television channels – Nick, Noggin, PBS, Sesameworkshop, etc. While these sites are great for childhood development, providing interactive games and lessons, they were not so great for just playing back whole episodes or fun clips of different shows.

Then came the next logical choice – YouTube.

On YouTube, I managed to find an endless supply of Sesame Street clips posted by individuals and also posted officially by Sesame Street. You can actually subscribe to all of the new Sesame Street videos posted.

With YouTube queued up on my dining room table, I hit play on a whole bunch of clips, both recent and classic ones like Rubber Ducky by Ernie and Near-Far by Grover and of course, C is for Cookie. YouTube is a great option for exposing your kids to some classic episodes of Sesame Street (or other shows) that they will not see on today’s broadcasts.  We have also started showing her some clips of the Muppet Show, which you cannot find easily these days.

For us, YouTube is a tool that we use from time-to-time to calm our child and guarantee she will sit quietly and eat.  Try it out, but just be careful to keep it to a minimum so your child does not expect a YouTube video with every meal, otherwise you will start dealing with a new tantrum if a computer or YouTube is not readily available.

One Response to “The YouTube Advantage – Entertaining Your Toddler During Meals”

  1. Myself says:

    My six year old has been fascinated lately by hurricanes and volcanoes and all sorts of catalclysmic events. YouTube has become a real life saver when he demands to see a twister. It makes me wonder if he’s going to grow up and become a storm-chasing video-posting nut.

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