- 6 minutes to do my daily basic makeup routine and
- 5 minutes to empty the dishwasher and put everything away.
But with my toddler clinging to my legs, those basic tasks become quite challenging!
No. No. NO!
Take that back. There are times that the TV can be an actual tool to a necessary goal, so no "Mom guilt" allowed when shows are chosen carefully and used with intention.
I believe if entertainment is over-watched as a continual default then it is no longer a manageable tool and becomes useless and counterproductive.
"...all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any." I Corinthians 6:12b
image source: Wikipedia
Sarah & Duck
An absolute favorite at our house, this BBC show is the opposite of kid's pop TV in that it is calming and not overstuffed with numbers & letters to be deemed "educational programming". So refreshing.
It's simple and yet compelling in its imaginative portrayal of life through the eyes and logic of a 7-year-old without parents present. My toddler can quack with the intro tune whenever anyone says "Sarah & Duck" _____("quack")____. So cute.
Trivia bonus: Sarah's friend "Scarf Lady" is the voice of Mrs. Patmore from Downton Abbey.
Available at sarahandduck.com and previously on Netflix.
By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41785777
Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood
(spinoff from Mr Roger's Neighborhood)
Oh, thank you Mr. Rogers for creating a show back in the 70's with such great morals and "good feels"! Who among us does not share a positive memory about the man who fed his fish on camera, spoke calmly, and patiently shared new ideas to children without talking down to them.
Sometimes I still run across an episode of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood and park it there for a bit, hoping to catch a visit out in the neighborhood businesses to see something about crayons are made or how pottery is thrown. Such wholesome and calm entertainment! Yes, older kids can certainly appreciate these virtual trips and learn from the situations that resolve equitably in the Land of Make Believe.
So when I found Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, it was intriguing to see what elements of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood they used and what was new. Every episode teaches a positive lesson on social and emotional issues. I really enjoy the short jingles they use to help the child remember what to do.
- "When something seems bad, turn it around... and find something good!"
- "You can take a turn and then you get it back."
- "When you feel so mad that you want to ROAR... take a deep breath and count to four"
It airs on public television, or available anytime on the free PBS kids app.
image source: imdb.com
Lily's Driftwood Bay
This gem gets me choked up at the line the Dad says in every episode
"I'll be here if you need me!"
and Lily replies "I know, Dad"
I see the spiritual realm with our Heavenly Father reminding us that we are free to run off to see what new treasure there is for us to explore today, knowing He is ever-present when we need Him. What a comfort to be able to say with Lily
"I know, Dad."
These short animated episodes are full of imagination as Lily plays with the characters she has put together from beach finds. The Northern Irish accent is fun, and the soundtrack is original and lighthearted. I absolutely love this show and hope it stays available.
I first found it on Netflix, but lately only on Amazon Prime. (I bought the first season on disc so we would always have it.)
image source: Puffinrock.com
Also an Irish original through Netflix, Puffin Rock is relaxing to watch. Lots of extras and coloring pages on their website, puffinrock.com.
The first thing I noticed about the show is the beautiful color and pattern palette that is unique for a kid's show. The colors are not vibrant primary and brights, but rather a calming selection of muted nature colors, enhanced with lovely visual textures.
The first thing my husband noticed about the show is the clean sarcasm and funny comments from the narrator's role, certainly injected to cause parents to smirk.
The seagulls are the only antagonist, besides the changes in weather. The natural predator fox is actually moderately helpful to little Oona and Baba. Good parental oversight is displayed by the parents and consequences are shown for disobedience. A different element of natural science is a focus of most every episode. No, I haven't seen every show... ok, maybe I have.
The Praise Baby Collection
This 7-DVD series (audio also available) ushers in a calm atmosphere of Christian-centered music and lovely images. In the style of Baby Einstein, but better. My toddler's attention span is longer and her learning is enhanced when I actively narrate the activity she's seeing on-screen. Babies and little kids throwing balls, playing in water parks, catching bubbles... puppies running through a field. Wholesome entertainment with spiritually nourishing music.
You can flood your home with similar music by making a Pandora "Praise Baby" channel to continue the listening enjoyment.
I highly recommend this collection if you need a gentle middle-of-the-night solution for restless baby syndrome! They're all available on Amazon and several other online stores Christian book sources.
image source: http://winniethepooh.disney.com/pooh-s-heffalump-movie
Pooh's Heffalump Movie
For when you need more than 6 minutes of toddler-free makeup time, queue up this hour of musical adventure and giggle along with Lumpy and Roo! Original songs by Carly Simon are quite sweet and uplifting.
I found this Winnie The Pooh movie to be less frightening than most any other I've seen. Often, kid's movies- even Winnie the Pooh- has "the dark side" portrayed rather ominously, but this movie keeps it light and quickly dissipates the prejudices of both the Hundred Acre Wood crew and the Heffalumps.
image source: bbc.co.uk
This 27 minute animation is pleasure to watch! Based on a book by Julia Donaldson, it plays out as someone reading a bedtime story. Our whole family can quote from this year of mishapps for Stick Man. (Again with the accents, love it!) If your home avoids Santa, there's only a small mention at the beginning and a cameo near the end.
Martin Freeman is the voice of Stickman. The lines all rhyme and the music is fantastic. Also a favorite choice for 3 am wide-awake toddlers.
I can't tell you how many times I've seen this film! Loooooooove it.
(We've also enjoyed Gruffalo and Room on the Broom by Donaldson and the same animators, though I think they're a bit too scary for toddler TV)
Well, that's it for my recommendations for now. I'm sure something new will turn up soon, and I've certainly not exhausted all "good" shows there are to see. You may notice I left out Veggie Tales, because I'm waiting 'till my toddler follows plots better than she does now.
These are our go-to choices when we decide to use TV. If they're new to you, I hope you find them a welcome shift from overdone children's shows with the tired themes of outer space, dinosaurs, fast action, and way too much snarky bickering.
Encouraging homes deserve peaceful programs!
What about you?
What TV or movies did I miss that your toddler enjoys or your kids loved when they were young? Share them with your Mom-friends because we all need to have good choice when it's crunch time and we need to pick a show to watch!