Why I Let My Toddler Watch TV — and don’t feel guilty about it!

Preface: I wrote this post over a year ago and haven’t had the guts to post it until now. No more. This is a judgement free zone where we can talk about life and truth and what works for one person might not work for another. So, let’s talk screen time…

The baby is screaming to be fed, the toddler doesn’t want to read one more book, or color one more Minnie Mouse picture, you’re counting the seconds before daddy should walk through the door……and then you look at your phone and see he got caught up in a meeting and will be home late. I feel my anxiety start to shoot through the roof and I keep repeating in my head over and over again, “this is just a phase…this is just a short stage in life…the toddler will not suffocate the baby…daddy will be home soon…you can do it…you are awesome…daddy will be home soon…single moms do it…single dads do it…what is wrong with you?”


All of these thoughts just are racing through my mind as I try to keep the calm and try not to sound too snotty in my text back to my husband so reply with a simple, “Ok.”

Sound familiar? I’m sure I’m not the only one who goes through this! But what do you do in these moments?

Why I let my toddler watch TV image.

I try to be a good mom. I want to raise my children to be the best they can be, but sometimes it’s just tough. It’s in those moments that I need to lose the mom guilt.

I turn on the TV and I see the smile spread across my little ones face.

It’s my sanity saver. We could go days with no TV and then we could go a week where it’s on at some point every single day.

I no longer feel guilty for letting my toddler watch TV.

If I need to nurse the baby, Mini Me is being a typical, hyper toddler, and I feel about ready to lose my mind, I probably will turn on the TV.

I will say that I try hard to make it a learning experience for her and try to engage her and teach her as the show plays. “What’s that color?” “Can you tell me what that animal says?” “What letter is that?”

But honestly, if she’s watching TV it’s because I’m close to losing my mind or the baby has been screaming or I realize I might explode if she hits the baby one more time and I just need the baby to finish eating so that we can go on a walk and get out of the house.

Fun fact? I didn’t watch cartoons growing up. When I was young, I remember my mom pulling us out of school to go on family dates to the tulip fields or a quick trip to the aquarium. In elementary school, we played outside, rode bikes, watched Sound of Music and Father of the Bride. In middle school and high school, I came home and watched Oprah after homework. Saturday morning cartoons was NEVER a thing. Now, if you do that, no shame! No judgement. I’m just saying that’s not how it was in our house. To this day I still have a thing against fake characters or talking animals. All that to say, cartoons aren’t my jam. BUT I let my toddler watch them.

We were strict the first two years of her life. Then baby #2 arrived and all that changed. I had read the extensive studies on no screen time. Limit shows or games on devices or TV. I still believe that to be true, HOWEVER, there’s always an exception to that rule.

Image of toddler watching tv

In this day and age, there is so much mom guilt and judgment and comparison. I am the first to admit I have been caught up in it one too many times.

But mommas, it’s okay. You aren’t a bad mom for turning on the tv.

Try and engage your child if you can. Often times the characters will talk right to the child watching the show. Rather than just scrolling through Facebook on your phone, ask your child what shape that is or whatever the characters are talking about. It’s a good way to interact and engage your little while still giving you all a little break.

I feel like my mother right now, but just remember, they’re only little once.

Recently, I read somewhere “this too shall pass” isn’t just regarding negative things. This can mean those happy moments too. If your toddler is having a rough day and needs some extra snuggles, flip on the tv, grab a blanket, and snuggle your little one. Enjoy it. Don’t feel like a bad mom for letting them watch tv.

YOU are enough. YOU are doing the best you can for your precious babies. If you need to turn on the TV this afternoon and take a breather, DO IT.

Looking for some educational toddler shows? Check out our favorites toddler shows on Netflix here!

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