I know, I'm a terrible dad but sometimes I have to plop the kid in front of the TV. Are some shows better than others in terms of positive role models for girls, lack of violence, and learning? She currently loves Kipper, wiggles, blues clues, and dora.

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    Impossible to answer what is 'best'. In general, TV isn't great for 3 year olds, but it sounds like you're plopping her in front of Nickelodeon and PBS Kids, and that seems as good as any.
    – DA01
    Commented Jun 17, 2013 at 18:44
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    Rather than asking for specific TV shows, this question would be better phrased along the lines of "what factors make tv shows suitable for 3-year-olds?" Could you rephrase your question this way? Commented Jun 20, 2013 at 9:09

2 Answers 2


Did you already check out the other questions tagged with television? Notable examples are (in no particular order):

Generally speaking, toddlers should not watch a lot of TV, and not in long blocks of time, and certainly not too much action (bad: Tom&Jerry -- better: Barbapapa, Bob the Builder). I would really recommend something that is slow-paced, something that can be enjoyed in small chunks of time, and something you can stand hearing repeated a hundred times over.

I would personally limit it to 15-minute sessions, maybe 2 or 3 times per day if you must, but I know I'm relatively conservative with these numbers. My toddler is happy with a single episode of Barbapapa, but the upbeat Pink Panther cartoons demand two or three episodes.

  • Thanks Torben. Forgive me, I'm new to stack exchange and my previous search appears to have been inadequate. Commented Jun 17, 2013 at 20:14
  • -1 @Torben, if you weren't a mod, I would flag this as not an answer. If there are already equivilent questions, shouldn't the question get marked as a duplicate (or as not constructive since he's essentially asking for a list)? And if there aren't equivilant questions, this doesn't answer the OP.
    – smillig
    Commented Jun 19, 2013 at 15:58
  • @smillig: don't let my being a mod stop you :-) I'm also just a user! I promise I won't be offended. I don't think this question is a clear-cut duplicate because most existing questions aim at older children, not 3yo's. So I thought it'd be helpful to highlight the relevant among the existing ones, as well as provide my own answer. Commented Jun 20, 2013 at 8:49
  • damn. sorry for the controversy. I'm getting the hang of this thing. I promise. Commented Jun 20, 2013 at 20:15
  • Don't worry, @MarcMarasco :) Feel free to stop by our chat room if you want to discuss informally: Parenting Chat Commented Jun 21, 2013 at 19:37

I found Dora the Explorer was good, as it seemlessly introduced the concept of multiple languages. But you already have that one.

If you can pre-vet them, try nature programs too. Our girl (now 8) is a huge fan of David Attenborough.

  • I second nature programs, especially documentaries with no human but plenty of animals, it's fascinating for toddlers. But I wanted to mention the 64 Zoo Lane series, which I (and our daughter) find of great value. It's fun, slow-paced, the drawing is cool and easy to get, and subtly educational on how to behave. Commented Oct 27, 2013 at 21:26

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