Thanks for Nothing, Daniel Tiger -- You've Taught My Kids to Be Ridiculous

There's a lot to love about Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. The cartoon features diverse families, offers kids solutions on how to deal with social struggles that are common with toddlers and preschoolers, and gives us a dose of nostalgia from our days watching the classic Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. Plus it's on PBS Kids, which instantly decreases any mom guilt we have over screen time by at least 37 percent, because, educational.

  • The show is cute, but it's far from perfect.

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    While we love that Katerina Kittycat wants to be both a firefighter and a mommy when she grows up, and how no one ever gives Prince Wednesday the side-eye over his love of all things shiny and gold, some of Daniel's life lessons have been less than Grrr-ific. Here are the Daniel-inspired kid antics that have me saying thanks but no thanks.

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  • 1. Thanks to Daniel, my kids think they're allergic to peaches (they’re not).

    Food allergies are no joke, and it's an awesome thing to make even the youngest kids aware of the fact that some children have them. I thought it was so fantastic that Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood tackled this subject, if only so my own kids would have a better understanding of why it could be dangerous to share food with their friends in school.

    But kids want to be like their heroes, so of course after watching the episode where Daniel finds out he's allergic to peaches, they now refuse to eat them too. Awesome, there goes one of the five fruits and veggies I could actually get them to swallow without an argument, and yes, I totally count corn and potatoes on that list. Now they have a new response for any food they don't like: "I can't eat that -- I'm allergic!" We're a waiter's worst nightmare.

  • 2. Thanks to Daniel, my kids refuse to wear anything other than their favorite color.

    Lots of preschoolers have an iconic article of clothing you have to slip out of their room under cover of darkness in order to wash. And I know that the episode "No Red Sweater for Daniel" tried to remedy that by encouraging Daniel, and our kids by proxy, to branch out and try a new style once in a while. But the damage has been done. Does anyone know where I can buy size 4T red sweaters in bulk?

  • 3. Thanks to Daniel, my kids think bringing sand into the house is totes okay.

    I know cartoon moms can't actually lose their cool, but when Daniel and Prince Wednesday bring buckets of sand into the house because they want to build a beach inside, Mom Tiger's "meltdown" is me on my best parenting day. There's no yelling, no crying, nothing dramatic. She doesn't spend an hour dragging the vacuum across while mumbling under her breath about being underappreciated and running away to Barbados like I would.

    Having sand, actual sand, in your house, is a "full bottle of wine after bedtime" type of disaster. But because Mom Tiger literally shakes it off and walks away, my own kids think it's NBD too, and are constantly trying to bring buckets of sand home from the park.

    So thanks, PBS, for giving my preschoolers the confidence to believe they can open their own indoor-sandbox side hustle.

  • 4. Thanks to Daniel, my kids think it's cool to stomp around when they don't get their way.

    Usually I'm all about the handy little songs Daniel uses to teach kids how to manage their feelings. In fact, I've been known to hum "It's very, very, very hard to waaaait" while standing behind that person who orders the drink with 14 ingredients while I'm just trying to wrap my hands around a tall black with milk. 

    But my jaw hit the floor the first time my normally sweet kiddo crossed his arms and started stomping his feet at me over an Oreo, thanks to Daniel. Are tigers still endangered? Does it count if I take out a cartoon one?

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  • 5. Thanks to Daniel, my kids think grown-ups come to sleepovers with their kids.

    Look what you've done, King Friday and Mr. and Mrs. Tiger. You had a "parents welcome" slumber party, and now my kids are pretty sure that's the way it's done.

    "Do you want to come sleep over at our house? Your mommy and daddy can sleep with my mommy and daddy?"

    I'm pretty sure all the other parents in preschool think we're swingers. Morning drop-off has never been more uncomfortable. 

    Seriously, Daniel, you're cute and all, but it's time to move along to kindergarten and out of our lives.