My kids would watch TV all day long if I’d let them. We actually limit them to one hour per day, but there are always exceptions and days when honestly? I need TV to help a sister out as I’m trying to get things done around the house or, you know, WORK. As the kids get older, I am less strict about what they watch (I let them choose entertainment over education if they are picking the show), but I still always prefer they watch something with educational value. Also, I don’t like it when they learn bad words from a show or movie (like “stupid” or “loser”), and I prefer shows without a ton of violence (sorry, Power Rangers…you know I still love you).
It took me a few years and lots of trial-by-error to really figure out which kid shows I do – and do not – like. I mean, how many times do you turn something on for your kids that you *think* is perfectly safe, only to walk by as one of the characters says a word you don’t allow in your house?
These mom-approved TV shows are okay for your kids to watch, even if you’re not sitting right next to them to supervise (I’m the mom approving them, though, so…take it for what it’s worth).
- Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (Disney Channel): Both of my kids went through a phase where this was alllll they wanted to watch. It’s bright, it’s colorful, it’s fun, it has Mickey Mouse…what’s not to love? There’s never violence, and everyone works as a team.
- Wild Kratts (PBS): Jack is obsessed with this show. Legitimately obsessed. The Kratt brothers morph into exotic animals with their “Creature Power Suits” and teach kids about wildlife as they go on adventures with the different animals. Because of this show, Jack is always spouting off random animal facts (did you know the Peregrine Falcon can reach speeds of up to 200 mph?), and he’s taken a real interest in the animals the Wild Kratts talk about. I LOVE what this show has taught my child and the interests that have developed from watching it (and check out these Creature Power Suits my friend Sarah found for her boys!).
- Sofia the First (Disney Channel): If you have a child that likes princesses, Sofia is a great choice. She’s kind, she’s smart, and she can talk to animals. Sofia teaches everyone that being a princess has nothing to do with how you look, and I love that she always includes everyone.
- Sesame Street (PBS): This show is just awesome. Educational, full of music and a variety of people and cute little puppet creatures, and captivates even small children (but it “grown-up” enough for my nearly six-year-old, too).
- Dinosaur Train (PBS): If you have a dinosaur-crazy kid, this show is a must-see (bonus if they love trains, too)! Kids learn about different dinosaurs through the adventures of Tiny, Shiny, Don and Buddy, the dinosaur children in the Pterandon family (Buddy is a T-Rex, which shows us that families can come in all shapes and sizes).
- Daniel Tiger (PBS): Daniel Tiger is the same Daniel Tiger we know and love from Mr. Roger’s. This show teaches practical lessons (like how to handle nerves at the doctor’s office and how to share with our friends), and has a cast of lovable characters my kids could watch all.day.long.
- Little Einsteins (Disney): I dig Little Einsteins. It has catchy music (maybe too catchy…I find myself singing it throughout the day), is fun to look at (lots of art and travel is incorporated into this show), and is educational, too.
- Super Why (PBS): Super Why is about a group of kids who solve problems by reading. The kids use teamwork as they find letters to build the word that will solve their daily dilemma.
- Dora the Explorer (Nick Jr.): Dora and her friends all get along nicely, they are kind, and they even speak some Spanish! I love that this has introduced my child to another language…she and her brother both ask me how to say words in Spanish now just because of this show (I took two years of Spanish in High School, so…I’m kind of limited in my replies!).
- Yo Gabba Gabba (Nick Jr.): Okay, I know parents have mixed feelings about this show. And my mom is weirded out by Muno (the tall red one). But I think it’s hilarious, and it’s provided me with a soundtrack for raising toddlers (“Don’t bite your friends,” and “Keep trying! Keep trying! Don’t give up!” are wise words from Gabba Land that I have found coming out of my own mouth). While I don’t consider this an educational show, it is full of music, and colors, and humor.
What are your favorite TV shows for little kids?