Language on TV.

Original Post: July 13, 2011

PBS’ Sid the Science Kid

I confess the speech-language pathologist let’s her children watch TV, probably a little more than they should but not as much as most. We actually have time at home without the TV being on for hours. Yes, this professional knows all about the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says, “Don’t do it” especially for children 2 and under. As a professional I absolutely agree with the AAP. Newborns to the age 2 primary mode of language development should come from their primary teachers, parents. Through talking, engaging, communicating, playing, experimenting, and simple hugs and kisses will provide your little one with a strong foundation for continued language development. In a perfect world this would not at all be difficult. In a perfect world Mommy’s wouldn’t need something to keep their little ones attention while they clean the chicken, or need something to keep the little one from getting you kicked off the plane.


Let’s face it television is in our world. Often times it is ugly and most of what is on we could do without. The reality is my students/clients watch TV and unfortunately they watch a lot of TV. I always recommend  and inform parents that children 0-24 months should not watch television and children older than that should have their TV significantly limited and closely monitored. I highly recommend children especially elementary age students watch only channels with NO commercials, NO violence, content repetition (i.e., vocabulary, theme) slow movement, no adult content or innuendoes (which means you can’t watch TV while your kids are around) and language/academic based. There are not that many channels that fit into these categories.

So, you have my professional views. My personal experience is that my kids watch TV.  Currently we mainly watch Public Broadcasting System (PBS) and NickJr.  Our favorite channels include PBS kids, Nick Jr, Sprout and some Disney. My favorite is PBS. I often say, that if our students who come in knowing little (academically) watched TV all day long could at least recognize letters and numbers if they watched PBS, yes sad but true. 

Why Do I like PBS?

I like PBS because of it’s strong language and academic shows. There are no commercials during the show. Topics are kid friendly. Shows content are repetitive, allowing children to learn and understand concepts and vocabulary. Here are some of my favorite shows on PBS:

The famous Sesame Street. We all know about Sesame Street.

Word World awesome! A world where everything is spelled out. Which is really good for pre literacy. Knowing everything around you has a name, spelled with letters, that mean something. They often drop letters and the words fall apart and the object no longer means what it is supposed to, wonderful!

Sid the Science Kid, amazing. Any show that starts with a little boy with blueish/purplish hair singing “I love my mom, my mom is cool” has to be good. Sid the science kid is one of the few if not the only kid friendly show that deals with primarily science. Sid always has questions about his world (real world). He goes to school and has “only” 4 other students in his class (teachers dream). His teacher allows the students to learn through experimenting. I’ve yet to see her sit and evaluate her little ones while the others are at centers. No, no FAIR, Brigance etc just teaching and learning, imagine that. 

My all time favorite is Electric Company! Electric company is a remake make of an oldie but goody. They take reading, science, math and make it all work. This is good for some young and older students. There are two group of students the good guys and the bad guys. They all have special gifts throwing words, ability to make a rebus, scramble words to make new words and so many more. Through out the show they rap, sing, beat box, pull pranks, help friends and so much more. I learned to read long, long time ago and don’t remember many of the reading rules you know “silent e makes the vowel say it’s name”. Yes, this is a song on Electric Company and yes my daughter knew this rule before she entered kindergarten. 

In a nut shell there is language on TV and other types of media.  Should children spend hours on end watching TV, absolutely not! Should new borns watch TV no. However, if your school age child is going to watch television remember, significantly limit, closely monitor, engage during, and be specific about what you choose for them to watch.  Early language development should always be a high priority. Also note that all cartoons are not made for children. Watch and analyze the content of what your child is viewing on TV.

Do you allow your kids to watch TV? If so what are they watching?


*Shout SL Therapy did not receive any compensation, for this article. This is the personal opinion of the author. Sid the Science Kid is licensed property of PBS.

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