Have you ever thought about the life lessons your child learns from his favorite TV show? While not all TV shows are alike and some are proven to bring the IQ of a child down (ah hem SpongeBob…) there are a few gems out there on the boob tube. Why not make the most out of those shows and use them to your advantage? It’s worked for me!
Thomas the Tank Engine – There have been so many times I’ve used the major theme in any Thomas episode of being a “useful engine.” It was particularly helpful when my son (who, to this day, is still an avid Thomas fan) was under the age of three and hadn’t quite grasped the concept of helping out. If he wasn’t helping pick up his toys or if he was acting out in public, I simply told him that he was not being a useful engine. That did the trick! I even went as far as to have my brother-in-law pretend to be Sir Topham Hat (the railway conductor) because my son was really acting out and I just could not get him to listen to me. It definitely worked and I really only did it twice.
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood - If I had a dollar every time a Daniel Tiger episode helped me explain a difficult concept to one of my kids I would be a millionaire! The reason why I love Daniel Tiger so much is the same reason my parents loved Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood when I was a child: He tackles difficult emotional situations such as being frustrated or feeling sad in a way that’s easy for children to comprehend. And on top of those lessons, songs are added into the episode that can be sung later! A few of my favorite episodes is the one where Daniel needs to learn how to dress appropriately for the weather outside and the episode where Daniel learns how to calm himself down. You will frequently hear us singing Daniel Tiger songs throughout the day.
Sesame Street – Aside from Sesame Street’s educational aspect Sesame Street tackles tough, real life situations in a way that toddlers can begin to process and understand. After 9/11, Sesame Street tackled the difficult to explain real life event in its season 33 premiere. The episode, however, never referenced the event; rather, it handed out situations that the characters needed to process such as Elmo coping with a fire that happened at Mr. Hooper’s store. What Sesame Street does brilliantly is look through real life adult situations as if they were a preschooler. Sesame Street has always done this and I don’t think it’s trait that’s ever going away. (Thank goodness!)
So sit down with your kiddo and see what they’re watching on TV. Then, see how you can reference the show to a difficult to explain situation. What are your kids’ favorite TV shows? Have you referenced them in real life?