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Great TV Shows for Preschoolers

  • It's time for us to come clean: We're Parenting editors and we let our kids watch TV. There are so many quality programs for preschoolers on these days! So what will we be cueing up this fall when the tykes come home from school and want (need, in our opinion) to zone out for half an hour or so? Melissa Morgenlander, Ph.D., an educational psychologist in New York City who specializes in children's television, offers her opinion on Parenting staffers' six fave shows for 3- and 4-year-olds:

    Plus:
    Guidelines for Setting TV limits
    25+ Greatest TV Shows of All Time for Kids

  • Between the Lions (PBS Kids)

    Why it's good: "More precocious four-year-olds will enjoy this wonderful show's focus on early reading skills, including phonics. But if your child is still learning her ABC's, the program may be a little too advanced."

    Plus:
    Guidelines for Setting TV limits
    25+ Greatest TV Shows of All Time for Kids

  • Caillou (PBS Kids)

    Why it's good: "Caillou is so lovable as a character because he exhibits typical preschool behaviors and faces typical preschool challenges, like starting school, sharing toys, and adapting to a new babysitter. This is really a very sweet show."

    Plus:
    Guidelines for Setting TV limits
    25+ Greatest TV Shows of All Time for Kids

  • Team Umizoomi (Nick Jr.)

    Why it's good: "This new show covers a ton of really important mathematical ideas, such as counting to very high numbers, numeral recognition, informal addition and subtraction, shape and pattern recognition, and spatial relations. Kids may not really know they are 'doing math,' but they are."

    Plus:
    Guidelines for Setting TV limits
    25+ Greatest TV Shows of All Time for Kids

  • Little Einsteins (Playhouse Disney)

    Why it's good: "A great show that teaches classical music and fine-art recognition. After watching several times, kids can learn to identify music by Mozart or paintings by da Vinci. The characters are appealing and the show gets kids interacting."

    Plus:
    Guidelines for Setting TV limits
    25+ Greatest TV Shows of All Time for Kids

  • Sid the Science Kid (PBS Kids)

    Why it's good: "The animation is really cool, and Sid models great question asking. Science is presented as something to explore, not learn. The show should be used as a model for what science in the preschool classroom should look like."

    Plus:
    Guidelines for Setting TV limits
    25+ Greatest TV Shows of All Time for Kids

  • Yo Gabba Gabba! (Nick Jr.)

    Why it's good: "This show is funky, fast-paced, and appealing to the eye, but it's not necessarily intellectually stimulating." (Hey, they can't all be super educational!)

    Plus:
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    31 Reasons You Shouldn't Feel Mom Guilt

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