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Yup, I let my kid watch television.
I do this with full acknowledgement of the fact that most of the current research tells us that children should not watch tv. Or at least, they shouldn’t watch it for more than an hour or so a day.
Parents have always known television isn’t great for kids. My parents monitored my tv time in the 80’s. So this debate over parents use of technology, namely television, is not a new one.
My philosophy about television is similar to my philosophy about food. Everything in moderation.
I wish I could be the mother that spends countless hours doing crafts and educational games. But I am not that mother.
I am myself, and I have to work within my own limitations.
My son is expected to be a kind person more than he is expected to be an A+ student.I am not spending my time worrying about what college he is going to get into.… Click To Tweet
With that said, I am more than a little picky about what my he watches.
10 Picky Mom Approved Television Shows For Kids
(with or without ADHD)
The Kratt brothers are a perennial favorite in my house. Not only are these guys entertaining, but their show really celebrates nature and animals in all forms. My son has learned so much from this show, including facts about animals, science, geography and natural habitats.
In each episode the brothers start out in the natural habitat of the animal they are featuring. Via animation and their Creature Power Suits, they transform into the animal. Wild Kratts is the perfect combination of science, magic and adventure.
Check them out here
Amazon has a fabulous selection of books and toys for young fans of the Kratts.
This is an oldie but a goodie. I confess we haven’t watched this one in a while, but back when we were working on letter identification I turned this on all the time. I would say most kids age out of this show around 5.
Parents will appreciate the focus on literature, letter identification, spelling and comprehension. In each episode characters model problem solving and overcoming obstacles. This is not the most exciting show for adults, but you can feel ok letting your children watch Super Why while you clean or get other things done.
This is a PBS series based on the books by Mark Brown. My love of Arthur is partially based on my own childhood memories. I enjoy the show almost as much as I enjoy reading the books with my son.
These stories are told through the point of view of Arthur, a young aardvark. His adventures are marked by a gentle humor in the dialogue. Each story teaches a social or emotional lesson.
I noticed on the website that there are even lesson plans and activities to go along with the show. This is a show that I always recommend, even to parents who dislike children’s programming.
Here is a link to one of the many Arthur books available on Amazon:
Sid the Science Kid
We first got into Sid when he came to a local performing arts center for a live show. At the time I had no clue what the show entailed, I just knew that any child named Sid had to be fun.
I am all for anything that inspires my son to think in a scientific way and to form his own theories and hypothesis. (No I don’t use that word with him.) We talk all the time about science topics in this house, and often I do not have good answers for my son’s questions.
Sid shows us that science is all around us. He teaches children that it is ok to ask question and then investigate to find answers. The show emphasizes ways to experience and record our observations.
Watching Sid actually resulted in a long-term science project in our house involving fruit in various stages of decay. For real – we had pears rotting in ziplocks and pumpkins growing mold on our patio. It was gross, but so wonderful to watch my son develop an interest in science.
While the show is mostly animated, each episode has at least one section of video based teaching and observation. Very cool.
Justin came to us via Netflix, so he is new around here. From what I understand, in each episode Justin uses his imagination to make every day activities exciting.
For example, his mother may ask him to clean his room, and he does it while transporting himself and the audience back in time to experience some major world or historic event.
This show is particularly appealing to my son because it involves imagination. In case you haven’t noticed I encourage imaginative play. Sometimes moreso than straight-up educational activities.
Peg and Cat
If you are seeking a math based television show this is it!
The short episodes focus on math and word problems. This is great for anyone who really wants a jumpstart on all of that STEM stuff that is so big in schools now.
While I cannot tell you that my son asks to watch it, I definitely wish he would. I am hoping he warms up to the idea after school starts.
Magic School Bus
I have loved the Magic School Bus for as long as I can remember. Luckily, my son loves Ms. Fizzle, too. In some ways I believe I want to BE Mrs. Frizzle. Which is probably why I was so disappointed with teaching in a traditional classroom…
At this point we have discussed traveling to the moon, blood cells, skeletons and the rain forest. All because we watch this show together.
We even bought a Magic Schoolbus microscope. The slides were lost long ago, but we still enjoy looking at blades of grass and fuzzier. Lucky for us there are tons of books and educational toys available on Amazon.
Fans can purchase gear similar to what we enjoy here:
Peep and the big wide world
I first heard about this show from a family friend. She told me her 8 year-old still enjoyed it, so I figured I should try it out. The only downside to Peep is the animation is very simple, so if your children are used to more details or fast-paced shows this will feel slow.
Peep and his friends Chirp and Quack all live in a park. Together they work on solving everyday problems together. The show celebrates curiosity and out-of-the box thinking. Oh and it is narrated by Joan Cusack!
Who doesn’t love Joan Cusak?
My mother actually found this show on Netflix and we knew it would be perfect for my son. Life Story is produced by the BBC and narrated by David Attenborough. Each episode is relatively short.
Though there are some scenes that could be considered scary, I found that my son just needed a little explanation about what was happening. I also find that the realistic nature of the series generates some interesting and thoughtful conversations about the interconnectedness of all life on our planet.
Phineas and Ferb
I will admit my husband and I enjoy this show as much as, or more than, our child does. What I enjoy is that these boys use their brains and their imaginations to build whatever they dream up. I love the ingenuity.
The brothers have an older sister that they torture relentlessly as she attempts to “bust” them for their adventurous antics.
My husband enjoys the humor, as well as Doofenshmirtz, the arch nemesis of Phineas and Ferb’s pet platypus, Perry.
I will confess my son was Perry the Platypus one year for Halloween. At the time he was entirely too young to even realize what/who he was. But seriously, it was so cute.
The best advice I can offer is to make informed choices based on what you feel is best for your family. Pay attention to how your child responds to television. If you feel that he or she becomes too zombie-like, or overly emotional, then you know it is time to turn it off.
Children are remarkably good at learning how to set boundaries if they are given the opportunity to learn how. My son now knows that after a show or two he likes to get up and draw a picture, or perhaps research and discuss some topic he has just learned about.
Parents need to determine for themselves how they feel about television for their children. I would never want anyone to think that I was endorsing the use of t.v. to replace time spent. But television viewing also shouldn’t always be viewed in a negative light.
Do you allow your children to watch television?
If so, how much?
What about other forms of technology such as games and apps?