Sunday, April 25, 2010

TV Hell for Parents

Our 18-month-old doesn't have any shows she "watches" on a regular basis.  We have the Your Baby Can Read DVDs and she absolutely loves them, but after a year, I'm ready to let her branch out.  Problem is, I want a show that isn't insanely retarded.  I'm not saying it has to be intellectual or even overly educational, but my single prerequisite (no retardedness) is really difficult to find on toddler-vision. 

Sesame Street wouldn't be bad if it came on after 7am.  Luckily for my wife, our daughter doesn't wake up until after 8am.  My wife approves of the Imagination Movers because they are always singing or at minimum keep our daughter's attention.  So yes, there is a "baby sitter" factor here...any parent who disapproves has probably found another outlet to keep their kids entertained.  Kudos to them.

I'm going to define retarded here.  
  • I hate shows where the majority of the vocab is made up words.  It's fine to have some silly words every now and then, but I expect some real language that my child will be imitating.  For that, Mickey Mouse's Clubhouse sickens me.   
  • I hate shows that mumble or baby speak.  We're dealing with people who have zero grasp on the English language as it is from the previous...set our children up to at least enunciate please!  Teletubbies may not even be on the air any longer, but that was my biggest gripe...screw the straight oddness all around. 
  • Crappy Role Models.  Cailou is a crappy role model.  He is bad...all the time.  He whines...all the time.  He's afraid of the dark.  I realize these are things kids go through, so it might be important to overcome them later in life, but right now she's unable to follow a story arch.  She can only imitate.  Not on our TV.
  • Don't be OVERLY ANNOYING!  Jungle Junction, Dora, Handy Manny, you guys suck and that's all I'm going to say about that.
While Barney may be a parent's worst nightmare...he at least kept the kids singing and dancing.  This my friends is OK by me.  He sings songs that I also sing to her, frankly that's nice, it reiterates what we do and I don't have to learn 100% new songs.  I just introduced our daughter to him today and she was in awe.  Yes, I'm sure when she's 5 I'll want to kill the purple beast, but right now it works. 

I will say this though, she was listening to some song about a marching band being sung to the tune of Old MacDonald and was highly confused.  She stared for a minute and then took off to her tub of books and found this one with animal songs.  She flipped it to the Old MacDonald page and kept looking at the screen and back at the book.  It was like she was fact checking his ass.  I couldn't tell if she didn't like the word change or if she was trying to figure out the new verse.  Made me proud though none the less.

A friend recommended Yo Yo Gabba Gabba because it's less Barney for the parents. The clips I listened to on YouTube have me worried that it has the made up word factor.  I'll give it a shot though.  I test ran The Wiggles as well and it has so much going against it.  I can't understand half of what's being said...Australians aren't known for enunciation.  Then there's the annoying factor that had us at nearly max capacity.  Gonna pass, thanks. 

I didn't mind Dinosaur Train, Doodlebops, Dinosaur Tales, The Backyardigans, Mr. Roger's Neighborhood or Signing Time.  I'm sure there are more that I should look into and probably should really evaluate exactly what I'm wanting her to watch as well.  Frankly, she loves game shows...clapping and cheering.  Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune are Top of Her List!

I'm thinking of purchasing Sesame Street, Barney, Signing Time and maybe Blue's Clues DVDs and just scrapping TV scanning altogether.  If anyone reads this and could give some other ideas, I'd really appreciate it.  Please keep the prerequisite in mind.  Thanks.

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