Dear Diary,

In a house filled with four children under four-years-old, the television is always tuned in to a cartoon. Sometimes when the children are asleep, I forget to change the channel. An hour later, I realize Disney charters are still dancing and singing on the screen. Like most first time moms, I worried about the impact television would have on my kids. I Googled How much is too much and What were the most educational shows for children. I made sure I wasn’t raising couch potatoes.

Some of my friends banned TVs from their homes while others never turn off their 50” flat screens. As time passed, I gave up on trying to fit any molds of what was good or bad for my children and decided to make my own rules, as most moms do with experience. I think I’ve found a healthy balance of screen time. I block some shows and DVR my favorites. We regularly watch five programs to be entertained and educated.

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood

How can anyone ever forget Mr. Rogers? Well, his land of make-believe is back, with new characters but the same neighborhood. Daniel takes us through his world where he navigates emotions and learns citizenship. Kids go through so many changes nowadays, so it’s great to turn on a show that reinforces mechanisms of coping and expressing difficult or uncomfortable feelings.

Doc McStuffins

Using her imagination, Doc McStuffins operates her own practice with the help of her stuffed animals. My kids love Doc’s creative, yet practical diagnoses of the toys’illnesses. My son surprised me at our last urgent care visit when he sang, Thanks, Doc, for taking all the ouchies away.Doc McStuffins helps kids overcome the fear of going to the pediatrician and even getting a shot.

Jake and the Neverland Pirates

A new spin on Peter Pan and the Lost Boys, Jake and his pals have their own unique abilities help each other and put mean ol’Hook back in his place. Jake, Izzy and Scully are always out to protect Neverland, even if it means helping Captain Hook stay out of trouble or stay safe. The show teaches my children about healthy competition, positive reinforcement and finding new ways to reach your goals.

Sesame Street

An oldie, but goodie! I grew up watching Sesame Street.  It’s no surprise that it’s still broadcasting years later to more than 100 countries around the world. I like that it intentionally mirrors the diversity in our country and teaches children about acceptance and kindness. Like many Americans, we adore Elmo and Cookie Monster, but we also root for the underdogs, like Super Grover 2.0. Despite the obstacles and failed attempts to rescue victims in wacky predicaments, Super Grover doesn’t give up, and in the end, with everyone’s help, the group finds a way to save the day. Plus, my kids don’t realize how much math and reading skills they are obtaining, since the show is so entertaining.

Yo Gabba Gabba

I have to admit though, Yo Gabba Gabba took some warming up, but my kids instantly took to the out-of-the-box characters. It was love at first view! Every episode teaches valuable lessons about the world our kids are experiencing, from being green, being open to try new foods and being nice to our friends. I always laugh when I hear my son’s dad singing Gabba songs to get our picky eater to clean his veggies off his plate.

While, of course, my children’s father and I are the most important and influential teachers in our children’s lives, it’s great to have positive values reinforced on the television without jokes about passing gas or characters fighting each other.

Hey DFTM Fam—What children’s shows are teaching your kids valuable life lessons?

About The Author

Marcelle Alvarado
Multicultural Mom

Marcelle is a mom raising four children all under four with her partner in Los Angeles, CA. She writes about issues impacting Latino mothers and entertainment. She loves motherhood, which has proven to be the greatest challenge and highest privilege in her life. When not writing for DFTM, Marcelle blogs at Chicana Momma. A former labor organizer, Marcelle is committed to working on social justice issues for the working class and women of color.

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