We’ve all been there… you want to be parent of the year but you look at the clock and it’s only 10am. That’s right, just 10am. You’ve had a full day with toddlers already. [I would’ve just woken up.] You’ve played all the games, gone through a day’s worth of snacks, and your legs can’t stand to have another dance party. You’re old and tired, let’s be real. Snack time, again? Let’s play pretend, again? Nope. “Kids you can watch TV for 15 minutes.” [sounds like those little geniuses have learned how to wear you down **one more baby shark and she’ll crack!**] You make the statement of how long they are allowed to watch to help justify your decision and not brand yourself as a ‘bad parent’.
You aren’t a bad parent. You’re a tired parent and that’s totally acceptable! TV is how most of us got through lockdown with our kids. It’s how we managed conference calls and temper tantrums. If you’re at your 10am breaking point here are a few toddler friendly shows that have helped me parent from time to time.
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
It’s always a beautiful day in the neighborhood here – and it brings me back to my childhood as well. [wait, is this the new Mr. Rogers?] Each episode is based on a real life lesson that we all tackle with toddlers. Sharing, bedtime, new siblings, and most recently, how the pandemic has impacted Daniel and his friends. The cheery songs and taglines are ones that play in your head well past bedtime, but help manage those situations when the TV isn’t on. There is an episode for anything and everything and I mean it.
Clifford the Big Red Dog
You know Clifford, the oversized talking dog, the one who drools. [This is legitimately all I remember about Clifford from when I was a kid! Glad I’m not the only one] Him and his friend Emily Elizabeth go on many adventures and sing catchy songs. I like the show because it’s based off of reading. Emily loves to check out library books and they live out the adventures from the books. Episode length is key and this one fits the 15 minute rule – two minisodes in one full episode so you can turn off the TV before they get too hooked. Or you can keep it on – no one is judging you, Mama!
This science based show is awesome. My son kept telling us “he’s such a hypothesis” which sold me on the value although he was just so off on the definition. He’s three – so we let it go. The show goes through ‘time tunnels’ and teaches children about various dinosaurs and time periods. I must have a thing for catchy songs, because this show does it too… you’ll be singing them in the shower. [lord help your neighbors.]
Travel has not been ‘a thing’ during lockdown, but if you’re as desperate as I am, this show is a dream. These super cute jets, who suddenly pop out legs and dance, go to different countries on delivery missions. [why do I feel like you watch this one without the kids…] They learn different languages, get snippets of different cultures, and you feel like you’re actually in Italy on a gondola – just kidding – remember… I’m ready to travel.
At the end of the day, it’s quiet time, and there is nothing wrong with it. I’ve just told myself that with them being so young, just let it be something of value – learn a lesson or two while Mama gets a snack for herself.
[You know, I’m normally more of a true crime doc kinda girl – but I may have to check some of these out next time I’m in a show rut]