WBD’s TV Review for Toddlers… the best babysitter!

I think there is a fine line between making your kid a mouth-breather and periodically getting a little break from parenting and giving your kid a little of what we all love – TV! There’s a reason why the good people at the TV ratings services Neilsen say that Americans spend on average 11 hours per day in front of them – TV’s addictingly good… and addicting. That being said, I don’t let AT watch more than a couple of hours per week…ish.

There is this unfair stigma associated with parenting through a little bit of TV and I’ve written a Kid TV Show Review Roundup not only because it might give some other parents good ideas, but because I’m brave enough to say, yes, I let my kid watch a little TV. I’ve seen some of whom I would consider the most attentive young parents regularly resort to a bit of the TV as babysitter too.

If you can believe it, she actually gets bored with TV pretty quickly and resorts to things like playing… weird

The show or movie I review must obviously be acceptable to the kid. Surprisingly, nature shows are not yet acceptable to my 2.25 yr old . I can only hope she dislikes animals. However unlikely, that’d awesome when the age of desiring another dog or a pony or horseback riding lessons usually hits with little girls.

Enjoyable

Kipper, Totoro, Fraggle Rock

Kipper is the greatest kids show ever created. It might also happen to be the quietest kids show ever created. Kipper does very little, and he has very little interaction with anyone or thing. He scores some very minor victories and everyone is generally walking at a very even pace at a very even keel.

Totoro is a Japanese movie that also has very little going on and is quite quiet. Created in the 80’s and dubbed in English by some child stars that are now tweenagers, it combines a nuanced and touching story, some great music, and amazing drawing to give kids and parents a nice relaxing, yet thoughtful, movie.

Jim Henson hit a homer to the mind of mid-80’s Jamie Taylor.  I was always really pumped when I was fortunate enough to be at a friend’s house that was lucky enough to have HBO and my favorite show, Fraggle Rock, came on. I was too disadvantaged to have HBO I guess, but following my mantra of forcing everything I wanted when I was a kid on my daughter, I’ve enjoyed watching with her on Netflix (although she loses interest pretty fast).

Tolerable

Dora the Explorer is definitely an interactive show, which is great. It’s multilingual, which makes me feel better about allowing her to watch TV. However, it’s very slow and probably best suited for kids that are too young to be watching TV. They could advance the story faster and Andie’d be able to keep up just fine.

INTOLERABLE

Sesame Street, Everything that’s on Nickelodeon including but not limited to: Nick Kids, Nick Jr., Nick Pre-Teen, Nick Teen!, Nick U, Nick in the City, Nick en Espanol, Nick the Greek, or Nickleback XM Sirius Sattelite Radio.

It pains me dearly to say this, but Sesame Street is no longer a great show. It’s not even a good show. It’s pretty much intolerable. What makes this situation even worse is that the Elmofication of Sesame Street and the featured monster’s addictive personalities and high pitched cadence not only has driven the show into a ditch, but it makes kids love it. I wonder if we as parents just always spoke in a high-pitched and high-energy smiley voice if our kids would always do what we wanted? Probably worth experimenting. I’ve written about my disdain for the speech impediments that the primary characters are reinforcing in kids, so I won’t rehash here.

This show is the pride of public television and probably the most influential media absorbed for a certainly large swath of American society, so it’s disappointing the tact the creators have taken to make the monsters featured  v. the classic characters (Big Bird, The Count, Bert & Ernie, et al.) and humans (Gordon, that other guy). Sesame Street undoubtedly had amazing music, innovative teaching methods, beautiful art, and made New York City look gorgeous and set the standard for children’s television – now it’s overproduced drivel. The guy that voices and puppets Elmo seems like a talent and a great story, but his character is absolutely awful.

I don’t have cable so I can’t actually confirm Nickelodeon sucks, but my last viewing of it made it seem like the only point was to sell squeezable sugary breakfast cereals. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

This is obviously not a comprehensive list. I found out about Kipper from my cousin Fran, and Totoro was a gift from my brother, so please comment below (not on facebook) with any other great, mellow, loved-by-kids movies or TV – the quieter the better.

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