Thursday, September 3, 2015

Tiger-tastic Parenting

Like many parents, I prefer to use the TV as an independent activity for my kids. In other words, I plop them down in front of it and walk away so I can do something productive like hear my own thoughts or drink coffee in peace. Though I am guilty of using my TV as a babysitter, I have standards. I don't just let them lose with the remote and go willy-nilly watching anything they please. 

Rule # 1: Does not annoy me. I put up with a lot of annoying thing from my kids, but I do that because I love them. I do not love Caillou and I don't want to listen to him whine in the background during coffee time. I turned on the TV to avoid listening to my own children whine. Turning on an annoying show defeats the purpose of TV all together.

Rule # 2: Is more educational than mind numbing. If I am rotting their brains with screen time, they should learn something to counteract the damage.

Though my oldest is outgrowing it, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood is one of my favorite kids shows lately. Not only does it fit the not annoying/educational requirements, it has actually taught me a thing or two. Since I went to school to be an elementary school teacher I have taken a ton of classes on childhood development, but honestly I'm a little rusty. I know the concepts I want to teach my kids but sometimes I have a hard time translating them into kid speak. 

Each lesson has a catchy little song which really helps the kids (and you) remember it. The bad news is, sometimes you can't fall asleep at night because you have to potty song stuck in your head. You win some, you lose some. Am I right?

Saying I'm sorry is the first step, then how can I help? Or as we say in our house, First we say I'm sorry, then how can I make it better? Telling someone you are sorry is like sticking a Band-aid on a scraped knee. It looks better on the surface, but doesn't instantly heal the wound underneath. So how do we teach our kids that a quick I'm sorry doesn't always right the wrong? 

In some ways we are different, but in so many ways, we are the same. I want my kids to know that being an individual is ok. They don't have to look or act just like their friends. I also want them to treat others who look differently, whether it's their size, shape, color of their skin or their ability, with kindness and acceptance. Kids are very observant, even at a young age and this is a great way to start talking about the differences they see in the world. 

If you have to go potty, stop and go right away. Flush and wash and be on your way. We just finished potty training Knox and we watched this episode of Daniel Tiger for inspiration daily. I love that it incorporates all the basics wrapped up into one simple song. 

And there you have it. I'm 31 years old and I'm still learning from PBS. Bravo, PBS. *slow clap* BRAVO.


  1. I read this post last week and meant to comment but forgot! I am also really liking Daniel Tiger lately - "I know the concepts I want to teach my kids but sometimes I have a hard time translating them into kid speak." Exactly this!

    When we first started watching it I would get annoyed by the show because my son would watch and then imitate Daniel when he is complaining or whining about something, and sort of miss the 'lesson' for the episode... but now he runs around singing the lesson songs from each episode instead. Thank you PBS, for parenting more effectively than I do... ;)

    1. In all fairness, PBS has been making kids programming since I was a kid. They should be better at it with 30 years of practice, right?