Toddler Addicted to TV (10 Practical Tips To Help You Cope)

Dealing with toddler addictions is a tough one for many new parents. This is because toddlers like to dominate once they become conscious of their environment, allowing them to do what they want when they want it.

This is a manipulative tactic, and if you’re a parent with a soft spot for your child, you will find yourself constantly giving in to their demands.

For many parents, it is easy to find your toddler addicted to TV and wondering how best to proceed. This article is a life saver for parents with toddlers addicted to TV.

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Toddler Addicted to TV

Most often than not, parents are enablers of their toddlers’ addiction. While this is not a shade at parents who genuinely try to tame their kid’s desires, parents are often responsible for their toddler’s behavior.

While growing up, many kids tend to be very manipulative and will attempt to use it at every opportunity. They take note of your weaknesses and use them to their advantage, something that, in my opinion, parents should be doing instead.

When a toddler is insistent on playing with toys you have hidden from them or watching TV at odd hours, and you let them, they’d never stop asking. And may devise clever ways to make you allow them to do what they want.

Therefore even toddlers are addicted to TV, and it is because their parents refuse to restrict how much TV is allowed in a day.

This, of course, exempts parents preoccupied with work and have hired a nanny to look after their kids because they barely have the time to check their toddler’s actions.

Addiction is a learned habit like thumb sucking and can be tamed if the right tactics are implored.

Read: Toddler addicted to Cocomelon (Explained)

Why Your Toddler is Addicted to TV

TV addiction is like a pandemic amongst toddlers, and while its cause cannot be generalized, the primary reason why many toddlers are addicted to tv is due to the following reasons;

  •  You introduce it as a coping mechanism to your toddler. You may have a toddler who enjoys playing outside and keeping him indoors; you put on the tv for him. He’d gradually lose interest in going outdoors, which is a good thing, only that, he will become so used to watching the TV indoors so much that without putting the tv on, he’d have no reason to stay indoors.
  • The TV has been used in place of a nanny.
  • Boredom
  • Peer pressure. Your toddler may be under pressure to watch the latest cartoon his classmates have watched and would feel the need to constantly watch the tv to have something to say whenever the conversation about the new cartoons comes up.

Effects of TV Addiction in Toddlers

Sadly, TV addiction has other consequences impair your toddler’s growth and overall performance.

Some negative effects of Tv addiction include;

1. Obesity

A study carried out at Harvard first linked TV addiction to obesity more than 25 years ago.

Some commercials advertising foods may prompt your kid to develop a wild appetite. Since kids are naturally curious, they love to try out all the new things they watch on the TV, including eating the foods advertised.

And since he is not doing much or moving around while watching TV, he may become obsessed with unhealthy eating habits.

2. Stunted growth

Kids who do little asides from watching TV do not grow much physically, mentally, and emotionally. Lack of exercise and unhealthy eating can impair their physical growth.

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Their mental growth is impaired by constantly focusing on scripted characters, and therefore they do not learn so much. And their emotional growth is impaired by a lack of social development.

3. Poor social development

A kid who has found solace in TV cannot make new friends and does not know how to cope when exposed to a new environment with new people. This will also affect his self-confidence.

4. Bad eyesight

Keeping your eyes glued to the TV can damage your eyesight and cause headaches.

5. Bad behavior

Some of the shows aired on TV promote violence and strong language, which are not age-appropriate for toddlers. They pick up these things and begin exhibiting them in everyday interactions with others and may even become violent.

6. Lowered IQ

An individual’s intelligence results from their ability to observe, think, and understand. Exercise is important for the brain, just as it is for other organs. 

Excessive watching of TV is of no use to the brain. Toddlers addicted to watching TV have trouble recognizing letters and numbers in school.

7. Delayed language skills

Without interaction, a child will have problems with speech and language. Passive listening to the TV will delay your child’s language development and limit their communication chances. 

8. Introversion

Children who watch too much TV in preschool and kindergarten have difficulty adjusting. As a result, they become less cooperative, imaginative, and enthusiastic since they cannot communicate effectively with other people through reading and writing. 

Often, these children struggle to become ‘listening learners’ once they join the classroom.

9. Increased exposure to ADD/ADHD

A crucial period of rapid development occurs between birth and three years old. 

TV rewires the child’s brain, leading to a shorter attention span and issues related to concentrating. To enhance communication skills in kids, you should stimulate them effectively.

10. Learn the Bad Things

There is an unnatural and cartoonish portrayal of life on television. Children who watch a lot of TVs may perceive life as a game with buttons. There will be no patience in the mind as impulsiveness takes over.

Read: Babysitting a 2-year-old – 21 Helpful & Fun Things To Do

How to Deal With TV Addiction in Toddlers

No matter what or who is involved, addiction is not good. It hinders your growth and affects your behavioral pattern around people. 

This is why it is not enough to know that your toddler is addicted to tv and decides to manage it. You can only manage it for a while before it goes out of your control.

There are ways to tame toddlers addicted to tv and eventually get rid of the addiction without harming your toddler. Here are some ways how to get rid of tv addiction;

1. Be available to your kid

  • Create family time where you just tell stories.
  • Read a book.
  • Play games with your toddler.

2. Alternate TV time 

You can alternate TV time with other activities like going for a walk, reading a book, and doing exercises. As a substitute for TV, books remain a great option. There are a lot of books to choose from for your child. 

Your child can escape into another world through them. The best thing you can do for your child is to get her started on something they enjoy and slowly guide them towards other genres. Your child will automatically reduce his TV time once he becomes addicted to books and reading.

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3. Apply restrictions

Put restrictions on the time of watching the TV. Make your toddler understand that he cannot always watch the tv, which is okay. You can introduce midday naps to substitute for tv during those hours.

4. Set an example

If you’re also a tv addict, it is time to work on your addiction to get rid of your toddler’s own.

5. Watch together

Doing anything with a kid speaks of interests such that whenever you’re not there, the interest is not there much, and gradually, with your increased absence, he’d learn to engage in other things.

6. Enroll in sports classes 

Enroll in sports classes outside your home. Not just sports but classes you know will interest a child-like arts, ballerina or music.

7. Treat tv like a privilege

Make him earn his tv time so that he will understand that he cannot just decide to watch TV whenever he pleases.

8. Keep your toddler busy

This is another great way to curb your child’s TV addiction. Organize play dates, sign up for sports classes, and take them to museums, planetariums, and live theater productions. 

All these experience offers learning and cultural encouragement.

9. Record shows

Get rid of the cable/regular TV connection. Use internet TV to watch your favorite shows. In this way, you save viewing time and can quickly skip the advertisements for junk food, violent movies, and toys.

10. Watch videos that encourage manners and moral values

Television is a confusing array of blinking lights and sounds for your toddler. They may not understand everything. 

They won’t be able to differentiate between reality and pretension on TV. In addition, the hypnotic effect of television affects their neural development. This paints a frightening image in their mind.

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How much television should a 2-year-old watch?

The APP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends no regular TV viewing for toddlers under two and limits TV viewing to 1 to 2 hours per day for children over two.

Why is my toddler addicted to TV? 

A screen improves children’s mood. According to researchers, it could be a sign of screen addiction if your child comes home from school and needs a TV show or game to feel good or provide an escape.

Does TV make toddlers hyper?

According to Dimitri Christakis, one of the main researchers, one problem with young children watching TV is that it can cause later hyperactivity and learning difficulties.

Can too much television cause tantrums?

Excessive screen time has been linked in studies to school problems, aggression, and other behavioral issues. The “sensory overload” causes children to lose focus and depletes their mental energy, leading to rage and explosive behavior.

Is there a link between TV and ADHD?

According to the study, each hour of television per day between the ages of 1-3 increases the risk of attention problems such as ADHD by nearly 10% by age 7. The study considers other aspects of the home environment, such as cognitive stimulation and emotional support.


A toddler addicted to TV is no different than an adult addicted to soda; the results are always not good. While getting rid of addictions can be difficult, it is not impossible.

If you’re a parent whose toddler easily blackmails, you may have to become a little hardened towards him. You may not do much since toddlers know how to get what they want when they want it.