You hear it over and over again from all those “TV Expert People” out there – TV for TODDLERS is B-A-D!! Well, you got me! I definitely deserve the bad mommy award according to all those TV Expert People (who are they anyway) because I sometimes use TV as a tool to lure the Dictator into a trance so that I can get stuff done around the house. I’m an all things in moderation type of girl and I’m not convinced that a bit of television every day is going to lure my toddler into a life of attention span problems, bad behavior, and/or criminal activity as a teenager. I try not to pick and chose the TV shows that Jacob watches because I want him to be able to use his imagination and not be drawn into something simply because I like it or appreciate it so we’ve always set Jacob up with a variety of Childrens programs and just let him chose what he likes best. The great thing about the channels on the television that broadcast programs for children is that they are commercial free – ROCK ON! So, all on his own Jacob has come to love The Wonder Pets, Go Diego Go, Super Why, and Bo on the Go. – every now and then he could take or leave one of those shows and substitute it for another but those seem to be his current favorites. I’m totally 100% convinced that all of those shows are teaching him one thing or another of importance but lets take a closer look at each one.
The Wonder Pets
This is by far Jacob’s most favorite television show ever! At first I was a bit skeptical of this trio of school house animals but I eventually came to love them. In this show Jacob has learned that its important to “work as a team” to help yourself and to help others. Through the relationships between the characters Linny, Tuck, and Ming Ming, Jacob is starting to learn the value of friendship and that doing good for other people and the world will bring good to him in return. I can’t stress enough how much this show has helped to expand Jacob’s imagination and almost daily I can hear him or watch him make up his own Wonder Pets adventures in his bedroom with a “Fly Boat” that he’s made entirely on his own out of building blocks in his bedroom. The best thing about the Wonder Pets? They almost always have celery as a snack at the end of their show and now whenever we take Jacob into the store and let him pick out a treat – he chooses celery over anything else – that rocks right?
Go Diego Go
I have to admit that this is not my most favorite show but it is definitely one that Jacob is currently quite interested in. There are some times that I wish the show was called Go Pierre Go because french is the second language here in Canada and I’d love to boost his french language skills before he starts school next year – but I’m totally 100% cool with his learning a little bit of Spanish too – why not? So aside from the third language that Jacob is coming to learn we also know that Diego goes on missions to help friends and animals and I think that’s pretty awesome. While on his adventures Diego leads kids through activities that teach about wild life, counting, alphabet, and my most favorite is that Diego encourages kids to get active while watching the television…Jacob and I are both quite fond of the episode where Diego encourages children to “stomp like the dinosaurs” – seriously the Dictator totally digs it and if he’s happy then I am too….we often stomp together.
This show is my most favorite of all shows and I credit this television program with teaching Jacob how to spell at the rip old age of 2. Many of you readers might not believe it but many of my friends and family will tell you that Jacob can spell and it’s not just simple words like cat or dog….he really can spell words like slow and stop. I am incredibly impressed by this show because the characters (Super Why, Alpha Pig, Wonder Red, and Princess Presto) are believable. The idea behind the show is that the four main characters are experiencing a problem in life i.e there parents don’t believe them, or they are too shy to make new friends – and they seek help from story books – real stories that you and I loved as children too. Throughout the show they collect super letters to spell out a moral, hammer out the alphabet, spell words to change the outcome of the stories, and learn to rhyme. Hands down….this is the most educational of all the shows Jacob chooses to watch and hands down he has definitely learned the most – it’s on PBS so check it out when you can and I guarantee you won’t be let down.
Bo on the Go
This what I call the Nintendo Wii of television because it is the show that encourages children to get off the couch and do some real movement and exercise. The heroine “Bo” in this show is super energetic and full of life as she goes on adventures and encourages children to join her by participating in various physical activities. While this show does not have a large amount of “educational” learning it definitely teaches your child about the importance of eating healthy to get energy, taking care of your body, and being active – check it out!
There you have it folks! Don’t beat yourself up if you need to use a 15-30 minute television program to get a few minutes around the house – chances are your child is learning something even during those times. I try to spend some time watching the programs with Jacob and interacting with him when I can – it’s a great way to open up conversation and a super great way to see how much he’s learning from 30 minutes of TV every now and again.