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:

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?