Written by Jessica Ye Trainor
I know I know, young children shouldn't get screen time! I have gone back and forth researching and debating with a geek like my husband who advocates for fun TV shows and video games which are great for developing creativity, hand eye coordination, problem-solving etc etc. In the end, it all comes down to the amount of time the children are allowed daily. Lots of studies in America state too much screen time result in shorter attention span in young children, but that's because those children get on average above 2 hours screen time a day. In the end, we tested out different lengths of screen exposures, and here is what we found working for our kids:
- Before 2-2.5 yrs old, 10-30 minutes of screen time is acceptable, maybe in the intervals of 5-10 minutes throughout the day.
- For 2.5+ yrs old, 30-45 minutes of screen time is quite good daily, they will watch TV for longer and longer time until homework overwhelms them I guess. And maybe a 60-90 minutes movie on the weekend!
So our favorite TV channel is, of course, Netflix, even since they introduced the Chinese language audio option.
To watch Netflix in Chinese audio:
- Go to a show
- Click on settings (the comment-like box on the right bottom corner)
- Choose Audio - Mandarin
- Choose Subtitles - Mandarin if you want older children to read in Chinese as well
- This selection is sticky, shows will play automatically in Mandarin in the future
We explored around Netflix and here are our top picks for children's show with Mandarin audios (updated Jan 1st 2018, listed in the order of suitable age):
Top 5 Children's Show in Mandarin For Children 0-3 Yrs (on Netflix):
- Teletubbies - For very young babies, duped by very young children as well and super cute.
- Puffin Rock - For toddlers, the animation is very cute, though my son lost interest when he was about 3 yrs old because it was getting too simple.
- Dinosaur Train - Who doesn't love dinosaurs, this was my boys' favorite.
- Peppa Pig - This is my favorite show to watch with the kids. It is cute and the Chinese version is polite unlike the original show in English that has a strong accent and some naughty languages. Great for young kids but my 5 year old would still watch it.
- Pororo The little Penguin - Lovely Korean show talking about the adventures of Pororo the little penguin who lives in a snowy village.
Top 5 Children's Show in Mandarin For Children 3+ Yrs (on Netflix):
- Justin Time - Justin encounters lots of real world problems, and talking about sharing, focusing, collaborating.
- The Deep - Exploring the ocean, fighting evil, talking about family values, love it.
- Beat Bugs - A great show for preschoolers talking about young bug friends and what they explore every day.
- Julie's Greenroom - Kids version of musicals such as Glee, led by the lovely Julie Andrews. It is wonderful, reminds me of the powerful show by Mr Rogers: exploring about friendship, emotions, love etc. One of my favorites but my children finds the show rather slow, I still insist on them watching it.
- The Magic School Bus - This is great for older kids, as they explore the universe in a cool transforming bus! They can probably watch this till much older, as it goes into physics, science, maths, etc. It is also great to buy the set of books in Chinese, I have acquired so much more vocabulary from this set of books!
After all these wonderful TV shows, there are tons and tons of movies you can watch in Netflix in Mandarin.