TV has been a big part of my life for a long time. I work well with background noise and TV had usually been my thing. I’m not usually too picky about what I’m watching. When I was in college I actually became a fan of Blue’s Clues, which was on in the mornings when I was usually getting ready to head to school.
(All of this meant that the job that involved four TVs in my office was kind of made for me).
Now we have this kid, and she’s a preschooler, and we’re trying to figure out what she should watch. There are the classic that I’ve tried to introduce – Sesame Street, the Muppets. I bought Mr. Dressup on DVD but the one attempt I made she wasn’t interested.
We’ve had success with Toopy and Binoo, which we both enjoy. There’s Special Agent Oso a formula show that’s got some jokes for the parents too (like Oso, voice by Sean Astin, teaching a kid named Rudy how to throw a football). Doc McStuffins, featuring a little girl – African American no less – who is a doctor for her toys just like her mother is a doctor for kids.
She loves Stella and Sam, and so do I – Stella is a great sister and she’s got a great imagination.
I give Strawberry Shortcake a pass because I watched it when I was a kid and it didn’t do any damage. She’s started watching Team Umizoomi recently, which is all about using math to solve problems, so that’s great.
But she’s started watching this show called My Big Big Friend and I just don’t like it.
The show is about three kids and their three imaginary friends – Lili and her giraffe Nessa, Yuri and his elephant Golias and Matt and his kangaroo Bongo – and they go on imaginary adventures, as you do.
At first I couldn’t put my finger on it, but after a few episodes I figured it out: I really, really don’t like the way the lessons are being taught.
The kids are presented with a situation and they respond to it in the completely wrong way and then they keep responding the totally wrong way until something happens that makes them realize that it is wrong and there lies the lesson. In one episode, Lili is asked a question that she can’t answer at show and tell, and instead of saying ‘I don’t know’ she makes something up, and continues to make things up until she gets stuck and has to ask for help.
Yuri gets a special treat from his mom, and his friends try to force him to share and when he won’t the treat falls in the mud. Eventually Yuri learns that he should have just shared in the first place – which is total crap. Good friends will understand when your mom made something special for you and you don’t want to share.
There has also been an episode in which Lili declared ‘real princesses don’t wear glasses’ – That one made me really mad since I wear glasses and all signs point to my kid needing them by high school – and another in which she wore a fairy dress and refused to play because she didn’t want to get it dirty.
The fact is, this show present a scenario and by the time they present the alternative – the way you want your kids to act – it’s too little too late as far as I’m concerned.
So have you ever said no to a show, something your kid enjoyed?