Help Me, PBS Kids, You’re My Only Hope
I’m not what you’d call a helicopter parent. I don’t tend to hover or fuss generally. In fact, I joke that sometimes I’m more of a submarine parent. You may not know I’m there until I pop up and intervene. But I care very much what kind of human I’m raising, and I’m not afraid to take outside help to guide him.
To that end, here are 5 times that children’s television came to my rescue:
1. Sesame Street
My son’s first obsession began with a red, furry monster named Elmo, but he soon came to love all the residents of the same magical street I loved when I was his age. He would squeal with delight when the theme song began and would watch as many hours as we let him.
I soon began noticing my little (18 months, at that time) identifying letters and numbers, and soon learned the alphabet and could (mostly) count to 20. Soon shapes followed, including the fancy sounding “rhombus.”
Do I feel bad letting muppets educate my child? Not at all. We worked with him as well and would read to him, but he seemed to respond really well to furry monsters who communicate in ways he can understand and imitate (and imitate he does. Sometimes this is not a good thing. I’m looking at YOU, Cookie Monster!), and I’m happy to see him happy.
2. Super Why
Eventually, he hit a wall with Sesame Street, in that they mostly only deal with upper case letters. I noticed that he wasn’t identifying the lowercase ones nearly as well. Around this time, however, he discovered a different PBS Kids show, Super Why. This show included lower case letters, along with phonics and spelling.
I confess it took longer to like this one. Sometimes kids shows can be a little grating (I know, shocking but true), and I would often get annoyed with certain plot points. Sometimes their “super big problems” are not super big. They just aren’t. But, over time I’ve succumbed to Stockholm Syndrome, and now I like it. This was originally going to be my son’s 3rd birthday party theme, but lately, a new contender has stolen his heart:
3. Daniel Tiger
The catchy songs to communicate deep exploration of emotions have come in very handy. Sometimes when I drop him off somewhere if he’s sad, I sing “Grownups come back!” And now when I come back (and sometimes when we haven’t gone anywhere at all) he says “Mommy! You came back!” We also sing the anger songs, like “when you get so mad that you want to roar take a deep breath and count to four” or “Find a way to play together.” I find myself singing these songs even at work with no children in sight.
4. Also Daniel Tiger
This is a more recent one. We have entered the challenging time of potty training. There is a potty episode that we’ve played a lot, and we sing the potty song when we are trying to go. Once he even got caught up in the show and ran to his potty and used it all on his own. Once.
5. Yo Gabba Gabba
Biting friends has been a bit of an issue with my dear angel. In fact, we had to change daycares because of it (but that’s another blog post). There is a fun clip you can find on YouTube where one of the YGG characters, Muno, bites his friend Foofa, and she cries. So they all dance and sing about “don’t, don’t, don’t bite your friends!” It took a few watches, but eventually, he took the lesson to heart and biting has stopped (phew!).
Standing on the Shoulders of Creative Giants
Obviously, I’m not advocating letting television raising your children. But there are some high-quality educational shows that are excellent tools to add to your parental toolbox.
What are some shows that have impacted your parenting?