Saturday, December 21, 2013

Frantic Mama's Favorite Shows for Young Kids

Yes, that's the title.  My favorite shows for young kids.  Because, just like you [admit it!], I let my kids watch some t.v. during the day.  I do not fall into the group that has the t.v. on all day for background noise (though I am not judging those who do: the days can be long, people!  Do whatever works!), but I do take advantage of the fact that-- finally-- my children can focus on a show for a good 15 minute stretch.

And as anyone with kids knows, 15 minutes is a lot.  In 15 minutes, I can clean up the kitchen and get dinner started.  In 15 minutes, I can check my e-mail and even reply to a couple.  In 15 minutes, I can send a few texts (but only if the kids don't catch me using my phone, in which case they run over to try to grab it out of my hands).

I have two requirements when it comes to Frantic Mama-approved children's television.

  • The show has to hold their attention (both the 1 year old's and the 3 year old's) for more than 2 minutes.
  • It has to be educational.  (I really do think t.v. can be educational.  And I went to Ed. school at Harvard, so hopefully I'm not a complete idiot).  
Without further ado, my Top 3 Favorites are:

1.  Little Einsteins on Disney Junior.  I could be a walking advertisement for this show (actually, Disney executives, if you are reading this, I'm open to any and all lucrative offers).  The characters are smart and kind, use high-quality vocabulary, and travel around the world.  My son knows about Egypt, Antarctica, and Africa, along with various animals and beautiful artwork mainly because of this show.  I love classical music (I'm a nerd, remember?), and they feature a different composer each episode, along with a wide variety of art.  I often end up watching it with my kids (and abandon the proverbial pile of laundry).

2.  Dora the Explorer on Nick Jr.  This might be surprising because a lot of people seem to think Dora is annoying.  I happen to think it is a fantastic show.  There are so many cool habitat, animal, geography, and language lessons crammed into a 20 minute show.  (The Map's voice is creepy, and there's a talking backpack, but overall I still think it's well done).

3.  The Wiggles.  Specifically, The Best of the Wiggles DVD.  Perhaps this one isn't as educational as the others, but it makes up for it with the physical activity and participation it encourages.  Again, some people find the four grown men dancing, singing, and strutting their Aussie stuff to be annoying/laughable, but I find many of the songs catchy, and nothing helps me get out of a slump than dancing around wildly with my kids.

Go, Diego, Go! also looks like a great show, but they don't put the episodes OnDemand, so we don't get to see it often.  My 3 year old son likes Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, but it doesn't completely fit criteria #1 (my daughter is sorely disappointed if it's not Dora or Little Einsteins).  I also find it annoying and ridiculous in too many ways, so it doesn't really fit criteria #2 either.

What do you think?  Is television ruining my kids, or do you let your kids watch some too?  Any shows my readers and I should check out?  Please share!

~Frantic Mama

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