Preschool TV show guide

Nov 24, 2010 at 6:55 a.m. ET

In a matter of hours, your preschooler has embarked on a trip to outer space and joined friends on a thrilling adventure - all from the comfort of home. Educational TV shows can expose preschoolers to new concepts, ideas and images, opening up their minds and sparking their creativity. Read on to discover how educational TV will benefit your youngster. Plus, don’t miss our preschool TV show guide!

Preschooler watching tv

Studies show that the foundations for later learning are built during the first five years of life. Make the most of this crucial time period by turning TV time into an educational experience.

Why educational TV?

According to licensed marriage and family therapist Bette Alkazian, a moderate amount of educational TV can actually be a good thing. "Some studies have shown that children who watch Sesame Street regularly were found to have higher reading scores and abilities," she says.

Of course, that doesn't mean your preschooler should be parked on the sofa all weekend. As Dr. Meg Carroll, a professor at the School of Education at Saint Xavier University, points out, TV shouldn't be your child's sole source of education or stimulation. "Children need to spend time looking at books, playing games and going to parks and playing with other children," Dr. Carroll explains.

When selecting educational shows for your child, Dr. Carroll recommends looking for shows that focus on reading and using numbers, learning about the world and acquiring new vocabulary.

Young children learn best when they're actively engaged. So, choose shows that invite your little one to interact with the characters, whether that means singing along or responding to questions.

You're not off the hook yet, Mom! Both Dr. Carroll and Alkazian agree that the best way to enhance your child's TV experience is by watching with them. As Alkazian points out, this allows you to add concepts, comments and additional stimulation to the images they're watching on screen.

For more tips on how to make your preschooler's TV time educational, check out this top 10 list.

Up next: Our preschool TV show guide >>

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