It's been well established here that I love kids' TV, that I watch my daughter's shows with her (the technical term is co-viewing). Usually I'm not picky about which channel -- we're equal opportunity remote-flickers. Nickelodeon, PBS Kids, doesn't matter. The shows get the usual bits of not-so-subtle learning in there: counting the number of estrellas in Dora or discovering what a fossil is on Dinosaur Train.
But I noticed a change over at Disney Jr. (or, as my husband calls them, "the channel formerly known as Playhouse Disney"). Yes, they changed their name, changed up the logo, added some new shows. Shows with lots of situations involving a friend in need, characters doing good deeds and helping others.
Hmmmm, not the usual 123-ABC IQ building kind of stuff. Nope. Hold on to your mouse ears, people -- Disney Jr. is trying to increase our EQ scores!
The execs at Disney Jr. purposely are shaking up the kid show model. Sure, they still have a few bits of the basics, moments where you count along, find the missing gold key, blah blah blah. But the main plot of each episode is about navigating the emotional landscape of our world. Learning to be a decent person isn't like learning to count to 10.
I say, "Whoo-whopping-hoo!" Shows like this are a fabu tool for us busy parents. It gets the conversation going. When shuffling between preschool and play dates and All the Other Life Crap, "teachable moments" fall by the wayside (or you are just too tired to have them).
Kiddo and I were watching Jake and the Never Land Pirates, the one titled "Hats Off to Hook." Jake and his tiny pirate buds find Captain Hook's hat. Jake says they have to return it to him. But Cubby asks, "Why should we return his hat? He never returns our stuff." Which is a good point, but Jake reminds him they are not like the big meanie. They know what is the right thing to do.
Kiddo turned to me and asked, "Why is Captain Hook mean?" Seriously, not so easy to come up with an answer when this mama hasn't had her morning cup o' joe yet, but I mumbled about he doesn't make good choices and doesn't think about how someone else may feel when he does something. I honestly don't remember. She added, "Maybe he can watch what Jake does and not be mean." I said, "Yes, showing someone how to be a good person sometimes helps them make better choices." Then Kiddo took a bit of waffle and asked if kitties in real life are ever rainbow-colored.
See? I just scored a huge parenting moment -- all before 6:34 a.m.! Thanks, Disney Jr.!
What do you think of shows teaching kids social values versus the ABCs?
Image via Creative Tools/Flickr