4 Tolerable Kids’ Shows on Netflix

4 Tolerable Kids’ Shows on Netflix

BarneyCaillouBackyardigansDora… are you cringing yet? Kids’ shows seem to combine nefarious elements designed to drive adults insane. Tell me if any of these sound familiar. Spine-gratingly patterned voice acting. Saccharine, unrealistic “d’awwwww” moments that somehow fail entirely at true sweetness. Horrible production values signalling the studio’s unwavering focus on their bottom line. A main character that models poor behaviour and never learns anything.

We believe our children deserve to watch good television. Television is a lot like food. The quality of what you consume reflects in your health. Junk food junks up your body. Junk TV junks up your mind. And like food, just because you like a show, doesn’t mean it’s a good show. Maybe you enjoy watching The Bachelor. But you know it’s not doing anything good for your outlook or the relationships in your life.

When our kids are young we have the opportunity to exercise some control over the media they consume. At some point, earlier than we think, they’ll start to be able to make those choices for themselves. We should let them do that to a certain extent. If we’ve helped them develop discernment, we should be able to trust them. But for now, we hold the remote, and we should wield its power wisely.

Here are 4 shows you and your kids can watch right now if you have a Netflix subscription:

Sesame Street

Yep. Sesame Street. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. You grew up on it, and so can your kids. Netflix has a collection of classic episodes that go back to the show’s start in the 70s. Watching it now as an adult is still entertaining. Sesame Street teaches kids to accept each other and to place a lot of value on community. They’ll also learn the alphabet, how to count, some new words, and new concepts every single episode.

Peppa Pig

I like Peppa Pig because it shows the life of a child in the context of a family. A lot of kids’ shows have no adults in them. And often, when adults are present, they’re not the central characters’ caregivers. We watch as Peppa and her little brother George (whose snorts sound like delightful little butt-toots, much to my glee) get into normal kid situations. They usually work things out with the help of their parents or another designated caregiver (daycare workers or grandparents). I believe this teaches kids that they can rely on the adults in their lives to help them out.

Pocoyo

Pocoyo is a charming show about a little boy and his many animal friends. I’ll admit that what I like most about this show is the way the characters are animated. Pocoyo is three years old. He can speak a little, but he doesn’t much. Instead, Stephen Fry (a pleasure to listen to) narrates the action, interacting with Pocoyo and his friends from off-screen. It’s great for younger kids, with a bright colour palette and action that takes place in a minimalistic, white setting. And don’t worry! Despite its targeting toddlers, Stephen Fry’s commentary will keep you sane.

Sarah & Duck (quack)

The “quack” isn’t part of the title, but if you’ve seen the show, you’ll understand why I can’t say one without adding the other. Sarah is a thoughtful, bright, conscientious girl who has adventures with her friend, Duck. This show, like Pocoyo, has a narrator who interacts with the characters. I’ve watched this show many times, and each time I see it, I’m charmed by everything that happens on the screen. Every 10-minute vignette has dozens of little touches that make me smile. Some of Sarah’s adventures are mundane, like finding an alternative when her normal park is closed. Some are outlandish, like having a race through the skies in a woollen balloon. It captures the fluidity of a child’s imagination, and presents it as something completely normal. What a wonderful lesson for children, and parents, to learn.
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