I know, I know, we’re not really supposed to give our kids screen time these days. We should be cultivating little Einsteins with an insatiable curiosity about life. Free time should be dedicated to learning letters and numbers and Pinterested science projects.
But sometimes, a mama needs a minute (or 22) to get things done (take a shower. Start dinner. Pound Sip a glass or two of wine.) We cut the cable cord awhile back, so all of our kid TV viewing is done through either the PBS Kids app or free streaming from Amazon Instant Video (we have a Prime membership. Worth every cent.).
So yes, I will willingly park my three year old in front of the TV when I need a break. I’m not a total deadbeat – I always watch an episode or two of any new series he wants to check out. What I’ve found is that most kid TV shows are barely tolerable (and a few are downright awful – but we’ll hit on those next time), but there’s a handful that we’ve come to love.
Here are our favorites:
- Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood (PBS). From the creators of Mister Rogers Neighborhood, this is everything a kid’s show should be. Informative, entertaining, non-grating. From trying new foods to potty-training, Daniel is basically the third parent in the Batchelor household. And just when I thought I couldn’t love him any more, he got a baby sister this summer. Now we have shows about making time for the baby and sharing with the baby and the timing just couldn’t be more perfect. Seriously, Daniel, I love you.
- Curious George (PBS). I’ve been a fan of Curious George since I was a kid. This latest iteration is a little less mischievous and a lot smarter than I remember from back in the olden days. But he cracks my son up, and that giggle is one of my favorite sounds.
- Backyardigans (Nickelodeon). I don’t think new episodes air anymore, but we log time with Austin, Tyrone, Uniqua, Pablo and Tasha through the power of the interwebs. The shows are chock full of songs, dances and imaginative play, and my son definitely expresses a boost in creativity after a little Backyardigans time. These also run pretty long for a kid’s show, allowing mama to maximize her toddler-captivated time (translation: you have time to shower AND shave your legs).
- Sid the Science Kid (PBS). Sid earns points for keeping it real. The shows take place at both his home and preschool every day, because both of his parents work. He’s also a curious fellow who wants to know how the world works and asks about a million questions (sound familiar?). But the show covers some pretty advanced topics (like how friction works) in a way that’s understandable.
So those are our household favorites. What’s tops on your TV?