Kids and TV – What to Watch?

On a recent family vacation I was forced had the opportunity to watch TV with my kids more than usual.  I was appalled at what I saw.

My ideas about TV might be a little different than others.  I’ve written before that I let my kids (ages 5 and 7) watch Glee with supervision.  The sex, drinking, homosexuality and other mature topics don’t bother me.  Why?  Because my kids come across these issues in their everyday lives, why not be sitting right next to them when the topics arise?  Of course I have my limits.  For example, I recently thought it would be fun to watch Grease with my oldest.  Luckily I pre-screened the movie.  Though I have seen the movie literally hundreds of times, I never watched it through my “mom eyes.”  I’m so glad I did!  The constant sexual innuendos and smoking were just too much for a 7 year old brain to understand.  Maybe in a few years.

The TV programs on my Do Not Watch list are the ones dripping with disrespect and sarcasm.  Before my trip I thought I had screened all the kids’ shows which portray ungrateful, entitled youth.  Namely, the shows on the Disney Channel (i.e., Hannah Montana).  These and similar shows literally make my stomach turn.  The way the kids talk to their parents, siblings, and each other is shocking.  Sarcasm is such a nasty form of humor – do we really need to teach it to our kids before they are out of grade school?

During my trip I noticed sarcasm and disrespect in other shows, too.  Sponge Bob Square Pants and Johnny Test to name a couple of my kids’ favorites.  I started to wonder, what could they watch that would be consistent with the values of our family?  What would be entertaining for them (they have moved past Dora and Bob the Builder) but consistent with what we are trying to teach them at home?  I am open to suggestions!  In the meantime I have settled on the following programs:

The Smurfs - One of my old faves made relevant by the new movie. Photo by: Coolspotters.com

19 Kids and Counting: My kids love this show, luckily it is all about the importance of family. Photo by TLC

Any show about making cakes, like TLC's Cake Boss Photo by TLC

What great shows am I missing?  I know there are other families out there struggling with the same questions.  What do you encourage your kids to watch?

3 thoughts on “Kids and TV – What to Watch?

  1. doudou says:

    I am very pleased to finally find someone who shares my values about sarcastic humour and plain rudeness on almost all shows on Disney Family. I am at loss for good shows as well. My daughter, who is a very sharp 7 year old, has learned this ever popular style of speech on that very channel. I have sat down to watch some shows with her and pre-select them…the worst, Hannah Montana, Wizards of Waverly Place, Shake it Up and the very new and super nasty Debrah (that one takes the cake). The ones I find borderline are Sweet life of Zac and Cody and Sweet life on deck (though one of the characters is super rich and bratty – hey maybe she will learn some humility from seeing how obnoxious brat-iness can be (although this has not happened yet. The one I find acceptable is Good luck Charlie which revolves around a 2 year old baby and her family. Unlike you however, I do not find Glee acceptable. I am hoping to get my hands on a few Family Matters or Growing Pains episodes (those were funny, smart and family oriented).

    • drstephaniesmith says:

      Doudou
      Thanks for your very thoughtful comments! I love your idea of resurrecting the oldies. Cosby Show, Brady Bunch, Family Ties, along with the ones you suggested – I would be interested to know if your daughter finds them as entertaining as we all did years ago. Keep me updated!

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