My 3-year-old daughter Channing is finally getting old enough where we can watch TV regularly. Adults are seeing some of the best scripted programming in years and kids shows are no exception. With so many great options on TV and online, how do parents choose what to let their kids watch? It’s purely down to preference in parenting. My daughter is transitioning from more simple shows like Baby Einstein and Baby TV to programs with plots, characters, and musical numbers. Navigating the world of kids TV can be daunting. Lucky for you we love TV in our house. So I scoured the channel guide, and toiled away on the internet to find fun, age-appropriate and engaging shows for preschool-aged kids. Some are new shows, and others are classics. But they’re all approved by me and my picky preschooler. So the next time I need a potty break I won’t feel bad about leaving her for a few minutes in front of the TV. And you shouldn’t either! Is there one I missed? What’s your favorite show to watch with your preschooler?
1. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
How much do you love this little Tiger? Isn’t he great? Right away when I started watching it, I was struck by how warm it felt, helpful but not pushy, engaging but not demanding. My daughter loved it immediately so consequently we own almost all the Daniel Tiger books too. When I found out it was inspired by the legacy of Fred Rogers, it all made sense. Mr. Rogers loved helping and teaching children. His show Mister Rogers Neighborhood definitely made an impact on me at a young age and I’m so glad to see the producers at PBS are continuing his legacy. The Executive Producers say the show was developed specifically for preschoolers and the kinds of situations they face and I think they’ve definitely hit their mark. Plus the potty song has personally saved me from many a potty accident. If I could hug Daniel Tiger I would.
2. Peppa Pig
This Pig has a contagious laugh. It’s hard not to watch and want to be silly with her. Peppa Pig is a British animated series featuring episodes that are 5 minutes each. Here in American, Nick Jr mashes a bunch of them together and we get a full half hour of Peppa. Hurray! For me, the most appealing part of Peppa Pig is that the lead character is a girl. In a world full of boys action toons, it’s nice to see a sweet girl who loves helping mummy and daddy, but still enjoys jumping in muddy puddles. Even though they haven’t made a new episode since 2012, my daughter is a big fan and watches them all on repeat. And truthfully, my heart melts with she calls me “mummy pig.”
3. The Fresh Beat Band
I wish I could bottle up these kids and carry their energy with me all day. The Fresh Beat Band is a live action show that takes you behind the scenes with 4 friends, who also happen to be in a rock band. These kids sing, act, dance and learn valuable lessons about friendship in every episode. Although it’s no longer in production for new episodes, you can still watch full episodes on Nick Jr. The music is truly a gift for the parents too. It’s more like top 40 pop songs rather than repetitive silly, or syrupy kids songs. And the animated version, The Fresh Beat Band of Spies is just as much fun, only in a cartoon version. They make every adventure a musical journey of self discovery. No wonder my 3-year old wants to get up and dance when it comes on.