10 Shows I Let My Young Children Watch (And Some I Don’t!)

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10 TV shows

At first I was all, “Oh, my kids will neeeeever watch TV.” If you are a mom who said that…and then did it…way to go.

For my part, I no longer see media as all bad for my kids. I think it can be good. Here’s why:

  1. Sometimes my kids are sick, and they can rest, let their bodies recover, and learn something in the process.
  2. Good TV shows and movies can teach them things – about faith, about nature and science, and about character.

But here’s a HUGE lesson I learned.

You can’t trust TV to decide if a show is good for your kids! I’m sure you know this, or suspect it, or you wouldn’t be reading this post. I guess I was naive, but I had no idea that “kids” shows could have so much innuendo, political bias, or grown-up talk that I would prefer my kids not hear.

*Note 1: You’re the parent. Use your best judgment. You might disagree with my opinions! I’ve found a good rule for us is that I never let my kids watch something new without me watching unless I have seen it before, or know it to be safe. Then at least I’m in the room when they start screaming from some random scary creature.

*Note 2: these aren’t the ONLY shows our kids watch. Just a few suggestions!

Rescue Bots

  • How we watch it – Netflix has several seasons, or you can order a season via Amazon (click on picture above).
  • Why I like it: This is more of a *boy* show. The characters are brave. The dad is portrayed positively. They are superheros who choose to save people whether they deserve it or not, no matter how dangerous.
  • Reservations: Some of the episodes have a scary scene or two.

Boz the Green Bear

  • How we watch it – We own all of the movies (there are four or five). You can purchase on Amazon (click on the above picture). They each have 3 episodes of about twenty minutes.
  • Why I like it – It is overtly Christian, but not annoyingly so, if that makes sense. The kids love it and are very entertained by it, and it has positive themes of being kind, God made us and loves us, etc. Added plus, the kids speak nicely to each other. I hate shows where the kids are annoying and naughty. What parent wants to watch that??

Wild Kratts

  • How we watch it – Netflix, or you can order DVDs such as pictured above.
  • Why I like it – I HIGHLY recommend Wild Kratts, about wild animals. My boys love this show. At first I thought it was a cop-out, and that the beginning part was good (where you see real animals) but then the animated part was weak. Not true! The animated portion, which has a story, is packed with animal facts that kids learn without even realizing!
  • Reservations – there are some scary characters. My son’s friend is very sensitive, and he was scared by the bad guys in this show. My kids aren’t too bothered. But proceed with caution if you have a child easily scared. Also, it’s not Creationistic. It doesn’t overtly teach evolution, but there’s a strong theme of “Mother Earth” that I just wish could be attributed to God!

Robin Hood

  • How we watch it – Netflix or DVD
  • Why I like it – What a great movie! Robin Hood is so brave, and so kind. The kids love all the characters, and learn morals like caring for others and courage.
  • Reservations – none.

Jungle Book

  • How we watch it – DVD
  • Why I like it – I was honestly surprised at how hard it was to find a Disney classic that kids weren’t afraid of, or disinterested in. This one passed with flying colors. They were totally engaged, laughing til they cried, and not seeming to be too afraid by the more dramatic scenes.
  • Reservations – none.

Mr. Rodger’s Neighborhood

  • How we watch it – I am so bummed that it is not a regular on PBS anymore! It’s not even on Netflix. *Updated! It IS on netflix!! It’s periodically on TV, but you can also purchase the episodes via Amazon (click above picture). I love these so much that I think it’s honestly worth it!
  • Why I like it – Mr. Rogers is so perfect for little kids. There is no substitute. (Not even Daniel Tiger!) He teaches real lessons in such a kind, entertaining way. I can’t imagine my kids not watching this!
  • Reservations – none.

Mighty Machines

  • How: Netflix, or you can purchase DVDs for very reasonable prices on Amazon.
  • Why I like it: This is such a cool show! It’s a little older (you may have watched it as a kid!). I was so glad that Netflix carries it. It shows how all these amazing machines work. The kids learn so much and love it!
  • Reservations: None.

Blue’s Clues

  • How we watch it – DVR or Netflix
  • Why I like it – I like the learning aspect of it. I like how the kids have to put the facts together to figure something out.
  • Reservations – This is best for younger children. My son at almost five is pretty beyond it.

(select) Veggie Tales

  • How we watch it – the DVDs.
  • Why I like it – Some of the episodes are great – entertaining, and teach excellent stories or morals. I’ve listed above the ones that I think are best for little ones.
  • Reservations – You have to be careful. Many of the episodes are just better suited for much older kids, like elementary or even junior high. Only a few of these really engaged my little kids. Either they were a little scared because it was intense, or they just weren’t interested.

The wonderful Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

  • How we watch it – the DVD or Netflix
  • Why I like it – So, so cute. I was surprised that my kids loved it so much, because if you’ve ever watched or read the Classic Pooh, the language is very advanced! Pooh has such a use of language! I thought they wouldn’t “get it” but they love it. It teaches them some words they didn’t know, plus it’s just an awesome movie. So cute.
  • Reservations – none.

Curious George, television version (not the movie)

  • How we watch it – PBS or Netflix
  • Why I like it – I like the science aspect. I especially like the DVD featured above. After each episode there is a “science application” where kids do an experiment relating to George’s adventures. My son has learned a lot from these!
  • Reservations – Sometimes George is kind of naughty! And he always gets away with it! Annoying!

Here are the ones that didn’t make the cut.

Curious which ones I don’t let my kids watch? Here they are.

Word Girl – This show is on PBS. “Word Girl” is kind of mean and not a likable character. I don’t like the way the characters relate to each other. It’s just not pleasant to watch. I’d prefer my kids listen to more upbeat interactions on TV. They’re naughty enough on their own! ha!
The Electric Company – This show confuses me. In some ways, it seems geared towards younger children, learning words and language, much of it seems more mature. Dancing, teenagers hanging out and making jokes, etc. I just don’t think it works.

Bob the Builder (with one exception, which is the DVD longer episodes called “Bob the Builder on site.” These are awesome, because they show actual machines working.) However, the TV show is a massive failure, in my opinion. Here’s what I don’t like:

  1. Bob is portrayed as simple-minded, forgetful, and bumbling, and if he wants anything done, he needs his female assistant to do it right. I am not saying women are not capable. But I want my sons (and my daughter) to see examples of strong male figures.
  2. The only person more stupid than Bob is his dad. Bob thinks his dad is annoying, and his dad always messes something up.
  3. So many missed opportunities. Those awesome trucks! Yet so many episodes are about something dumb, like Bob breaking his palm pilot.

Disney Classics that are a little scary. (Note: These are movies my kids didn’t seem to like at their current ages. I understand that some little kids may not be fazed by these movies. Listing them for reference in case anyone’s curious what my kids did not like: Rescuers Down Under, 101 Dalmatians, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Lion King – some parts)

Caillou – Caullou…Oh, the whining! My son starts talking like him if he watches it too much, and I can’t stand it!

Max and Ruby – There isn’t anything “wrong” with Max and Ruby. I just think there is nothing redeeming about it. It’s pointless. There are much better choices.

Arthur – What I don’t like about “Arthur” is that it’s a little too real. He argues with his sister in a really annoying way, and often has conflict with teachers, friends, etc., that I think is just unnecessary. It isn’t a show that gives you a happy feeling to watch it. It kind of stresses me out. My kids don’t really love it either.

What shows do your kids love? Did I nix one of your family’s favorites? Love to hear your comments!

Hey! Check out what’s up so far in my October post series: 31 Lies Modern Moms Believe!

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  1. We love Wild Kratts, too! I think the only way it could be better is if they would say, “God created” instead of nature created. I hadn’t heard of Rescue Bots or Mighty Machines, so I’m going to check those out for my son. And I do not let my kids watch Curious George because he’s naughty and doesn’t get disciplined for it. But, like you said, I’m the parent, and I decide what my children watch, like you decide what your children watch.

    We don’t watch Bob the Builder, Caillou, or Arthur for the same reasons. Ugh!

    • Nikki, I was just thinking that the other day about “nature” on Wild Kratts! That’s so annoying! Hope you like Mighty Machines! It’s awesome… They learn so much!

      • I just wanted to let you know that we watched an episode of Mighty Machines yesterday and one of the Rescue Bots today, and my son (6) LOVED both! My girls…not so much. But he’s watched things for them, so now it’s his turn. Thanks for the recommendations!

    • I agree with the “God Created”. I have thought this numerous times. BUT, I love that it is not evolutionary at all. My kids love Wild Kratts! I have two animal lovers and the show fits perfectly. They liked Dinosaur Train for awhile, but I ended up nixing it because I could not stand the evolutionary content they kept shoving down our throats. I spent more time correcting the show then what it was worth. That is why I love that Wild Kratts doesn’t push it either way, by keeping it educational and entertaining.

  2. We watch some Disney Jr shows (Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Sofia the First, Octonauts) and I think for girls, Strawberry Shortcake is a good show. I’m a Disney movie fan, scary parts and all. Lord help Rich if he ever introduces my kids to a step mother… Cinderella (and I) made sure they won’t like her! 😉

  3. We have similar taste. We have Word Girl, Caillou and the Disney classics on our list for the same reasons. Scarlette would LOVE to watch Word Girl- she adores those short clips that come on in between commercials, but I think she’s too sassy and I have enough sass in this house already :)

  4. My older two are also 3 and 5, so this was helpful! (Although my 5-year-old is a girl, so she has some different tastes.) Bookmarking this, because I think my son would enjoy some of these a lot. I will let my kids watch the Veggie Tales, but you’re right about certain ones being more engaging. They are really into League of Incredible Vegetables and super-heroes in general right now. They just took it off Amazon prime and we are bummed!

    Does anyone like Caillou? How is it still on the air?

  5. We like Wild Kratt’s, Curious George, and Winnie the Pooh too. She also likes some of the Veggie Tales. One of her aunt’s recently got her Madeleine and she likes that. I haven’t watch much Bob the Builder but I agree with all the others on your no list except one. :-) Kenna loves Max and Ruby. There’s not anything necessarily redeeming but they don’t drive me crazy and I really appreciate how patient Ruby is with Max.

    Thanks for the list! I’m going to check out your favorites that I haven’t seen before.

  6. What a great list. My girls love Signing Time and we’re also in a Little Einsteins phase right now. I appreciate all the music concepts that are taught, though some of the episodes can be scary.

    • Suzanne says:

      How has no one mentioned Daniel Tiger?!? SO sweet, patient, and teaching – and an offspring of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood! If I had to limit my kids to only one show, that would be it! Doc McStuffins is our favorite Disney one. My daughter loves to go the the doctor now and plays doc with all her toys.

    • 2 more great recommendations. We love both of those too. (Although Signing time gets annoying because you find yourself singing the songs days and months later! ROFL!)

  7. Great list! Our son LOVES Thomas, so that and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse are the only TV shows right now (he just turned 2). We also LOVExamillion The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Even my husband and I! We have stayed away from Disney movies for the same reason (scary stuff!) and because of their lengths. Pretty sure “Cars” will be our son’s first Disney movie, since he already loves “Lightning” 😉 Jungle Book is a great option, and I thought he’d probably like Peter Pan too. Good tips, thanks!

  8. Laura Barna says:

    Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood is on Hulu Plus :)

  9. Leslie Mallard says:

    Little Bear! Every single bit of it. Love, love, love!

  10. All on Netflix:
    BusyTown Mysteries – based on Richard Scarry books. Very NOT scary short little mysteries
    Leapfrog shows – Learning shows (with catchy songs) for little kids.
    Adventures of Chuck Truck – just fun for little boys – but usually they learn a good lesson at the end.

    Fox and the Hound 2 – not sad like the 1st one.
    Tigger Movie
    We just watched the Prince of Egypt (story of Moses) and it was great – but we had to talk through a few things with our 4 year old. I definitely wouldn’t put this movie on and just leave the room because there are some powerful (potentially scary) scenes.

    Anyone know anything about Stuart Little? Is it a good move?

  11. Rescue Bots are a fave of ours along with Wild Kratts. I like that there aren’t many “bad guys” in rescue bots – it’s often just fixing problems and saving people.

  12. Food suggestions! We will have to check out the Mighty Machines. If you like Mr. Rodger’s Neighborhood, then you might like Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood… it’s on PBS and they do have a few seasons on Amazon Prime. My son likes it a lot. Daniel has a lot of experiences that my 3 year old can relate to. I’m glad you mentioned the whole Disney classic issue… my son is just too young to handle the drama/scariness of a lot of them… I thought we were the only ones as a lot of moms I know mention their little love some of those movies. We didn’t even make it through the cat chasing the mice scene in Cinderella, so most of those will have to wait.

  13. Curious to know what you think of SuperWhy!. It is absolute favorite with my 2 and 4 year old. Very engaging, nothing scary, and lots of learning.

  14. Had to laugh because my son is watching Bob the Builder right now! lol I’m not crazy about it but he seems to like it.

    We also LOVE mighty Machines, Daniel Tiger, Taratabong, Wild Animal Baby Explorers, Animal Mechanicals, Rescue Bots, The Adventures of Chuck and Friends, and the Leap Frog Moves on Netflix. I’ve never even heard of Wild Kratts. I’m so going to check that out because we are always looking for new things to watch.

    One show we nixed was Super Why – even though I really liked the show, I didn’t like all of the episodes and some of the content (Santa Claus, witches, ogres, etc).

  15. I love Charlie & Lola. It is fun even for me to watch (because Lola and her best friend Lotta are so cute and hysterically funny) and I LOVE the positive portrayal of brother/sister relationship. Charlie and Lola really love one another and big brother Charlie is so patient and kind when Lola is having trouble. Also, they play imagination play so much. This show is just plain FUN.

  16. I love this list!!!!!! Thanks for the tips!

  17. Mr Rogers Neighborhood is now on the PBS website. I think there are close to 30 episodes. Here’s the link: http://pbskids.org/rogers/videos/index.html. Great suggestions! We haven’t checked out Blues Clues yet or some of the others. My boys are sick right now so we’ll have to check out some of these suggestions.

  18. Faith Storms says:

    We love What’s In The Bible with Buck Denver from the creator of Veggie Tales. We actually signed up for their Netflixesque service called Jelly Telly so we can watch them anytime we want. We also love Daniel Tiger, Doc McStuffins, Chuck and Friends and Clifford.

  19. Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood is also on Amazon Prime. All seven volumes are included for free watching if you have an Amazon Prime membership.

  20. Oh that is a great list!! For older kids though, because mine is 7, he likes wild kratts! He also likes Pokemon right now and I am SO not digging it.. It’s pretty violent! Then there’s Paw patrol and he LOVES that thank Goodness! THEN, he’s into TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, Mario (they had DVDs at walmart for like $5)AND, the real reason I wanted to post so badly, he USED to watch all the animal atlas shows, but one day I was watching it with him and they showed a naked mermaid!!! I was pretty disgusted. SO! Just a heads up on that show for sure! Oh and he liked Dino Dan but I think they ran out of stuff to do. :)

  21. We love Wild Kratts too, and Word Girl gets turned off. I also don’t like Peg+Cat, I don’t like a lot of the phrases she uses. However, my kids (3 and 5) both love Caillou for some reason. I haven’t seen that it affects them negatively although it seems ridiculous that the adult always has to find a way around the problems he is always having. I just ignore it when they watch it.

  22. thanks for the list! fyi, mr. roger’s neighborhood is on pbs kids. the episodes are totally free.

  23. Bitty Wiebe says:

    My kiddos (2, 5, and 6) love a Christian nature documentary series called “The Nature of God” by a guy named Peter Schreimer. It’s a limited series (maybe eight DVDs total, with an approximately 30-minute episode per DVD), but they watch them repeatedly without any complaints, and I’m willing to pay for the Christian perspective. They are not animated. I ordered them from cbd.com. We also really enjoy Buck Denver’s What’s in the Bible, and my youngest (and other two, also, when they were younger) enjoys/ed Max Lucado’s Hermie DVDs. We also LOVE The Jungle Book and Fox and the Hound. My older two enjoy an animated history series called Liberty’s Kids, but it can be intense.

  24. We love all of your favorites, and I pretty much agree with your no list! One other my boys (4 & 6) do love is Magic School Bus. My 6 year old gets into the PBS Nova show also. It’s a little over my younger’s head.

  25. Fishtronaut is on Netflix and my kids like that show a lot, too.

  26. Veronica says:

    Daniel Tiger and Little Einsteins fans here! Tartabang on Netflix is good for music education.

  27. my boys love the Disney Jr. Shows (Sophia, Doc McStuffins, sheriff Callie and M.M.C.H.) I enjoy the fact I don’t have to worry about leaving the room and worrying what will come in a commercial or the next show. I lLOVE they don’t have all the craptastic “buy me now” commercials. My 3 yr old is a Peg+Cat fan big time (all 3 like it, 3,5&8), I like her because she not only realizes when she is “freaking out” but also uses the self soothing exercise of counting to calm herself. I find this HUGE to teach kids, having an 8 yr old on the autism scale I can truely attest to the calming effect this has on kids and what a great tool it is to teach!

  28. This is a little sexist, no? You don’t like Bob because he needs a woman’s help? Really!

  29. So, I love your lists and agree with everything on them! Other shows that my boys (3 and 5) love watching are Octonauts and Magic School Bus. Both are quite educational, and my sons have learned a lot from those shows. They also love Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. I know, I know, it doesn’t compare to Mr. Roger’s, but it’s still a family favorite. That show has actually taught my oldest a lot of good life lessons. Sometimes when he’s upset, I’ll hear him sing the anger song to calm himself down. He’ll also sing some of the other songs whenever they apply. It’s cute, and I think it’s great that he’s learning those things.

  30. I have a few suggestions for you to try! They are big hits with my daughter (one) and niece and nephew (2 and 5).
    1. Stella and Sam- we watch these on DVD. It’s a show about 9 yo Stella and her 3 yo brother, Sam. The whole show is about Stella and Sam exploring and using their imaginations to have fun. They love each other, don’t fight and have hilarious fun. Really Good.
    2. SuperWhy- Whyatt and his super friends fix up mixed-up fairytales with their grammar and word skills. I honestly believe my niece learned to read this way!

  31. My daughter LOVES Sofia the First and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Those are pretty much the only ones she’s allowed to watch, and only one or two a day. She’s only 1, so I try to limit her screen time. I love how Sofia teaches respect and kindness, and that there are consequences for every decision we make, good or bad.
    I will definitely be looking into some of the other shows mentioned for when she is older. Great suggestions!

  32. These are some great suggestions. I would love to throw my 2 cents in here as a mom of older children as well. I have 3 daughters ages 12, 8 and 3. I sometimes find that shows with older themes, or shows with themes that wouldn’t necessarily be how we choose to live are great tools for conversation! I don’t always shy away from shows that contain arguing, or whining, or even from some scarier Disney scenes. Don’t get me wrong. I do believe that there is a line. But think of it from this perspective when our children are young it is our only chance to instill in them basic beliefs before they are thrown out into the “real world” where they will hear about this stuff anyways. I want to teach my daughters to pray before speaking, to trust in the Lord, to forgive after an argument, etc. Not only can I lead by example, but some shows offer a prime conversation starter for me to walk them through what they might do in those situations. :)

  33. i think there is some good info here, but you really lost my respect when you called Bob the Builder a girly wimp who needs help from his girl assistant. Really? Apparently only girls are wimps? And an engineer needing help from a girl is a bad thing? That would be a plus in my book.

  34. I totally agree with this! Some people think its crazy that my girls have never seen Disney princess movies but I know that it would scare them. Also, I feel like the movies are more than their little brains can handle.

  35. Mr. Rogers is on Netflix now!!!! I never let my kids watch TV but since *I* want to watch them all, I am having my son have 1/2 an hour of TV time in the morning after the older kids go to school.

  36. Thanks for the suggestions! I’m going to add Rescue Bots to our queue! Annie likes The Magic Schoolbus on Netflix – I like that it’s educational. She will randomly repeat facts to me later on in the week. And a lot of them fit in with stuff we’re studying in school so those are the episodes I let her watch.
    Also, Thomas the Train makes me want to tape duct tape over my ears. It’s been nixed here. But mainly because listening to it makes me want to scream. LOL LOL

  37. For the most part I think PBS does a great job, dinosaur train seemed like a good idea (about adoption) but unfortunately it’s full of evolution. But we love super why and Daniel tiger (perhaps a little nostalgic for me Rogers) but I can’t stand cailou and Thomas the train or anything else that doesn’t have much of a point. I agree on the veggie tales, doesn’t catch interest because it’s too old, but my son does love Phil vishers new what’s in the bible DVDs, especially the Christmas one (which my ordained husband highly approves of) love your recommendations though, I’ll have to try out Winnie after my son had nightmares from the episode of Mickey Mouse grandma showed him.

  38. Daniel Tiger is a cute shoe. It’s a spinoff of Mr. Rodger’s Neighborhood. We love it because it’s clean, real, and our daughter learns a lot from it. You can find it on Netflix. Definitely recommend it. :)

  39. my kids have always loved max and ruby, but i was alway confused as to why they had no parents and grandma lived down the street and big sis played mommy role? lol!

  40. These are so great! Excited to try some of them! We are Thomas the Train people around our house. It’s so refreshing that EVERY SINGLE EPISODE is filed with a moral lesson. The original series was written by a Pastor, and it’s so nice to see that the characters are not portrayed as perfect (even Thomas). They all have their faults and are learning lessons, even if it is the hard way sometimes. I

  41. I have a 5yo daughter and a 2yo son, so it’s important to me that I show them stories of siblings getting along. Pinky Dinky Doo (Netflix) and Stella and Sam (Disney) are wonderful. Both involve older sisters helping younger brothers solve their problems in creative and imaginative ways.

    Paw Patrol is my son’s favorite, though it’s kind of mindless. Although it’s scary for some, my 5yo LOVED Scooby-Doo as well, though the more modern versions. Are far too racy. Martha Speaks is fun too, is fun too and I absolutely love Dinosaur Train.

  42. I am glad you mentioned Rescue Bots. My son talks about them all the time (YouTube Toy Reviews), so I may let him watch some tomorrow. I know he’ll be over the moon.

  43. Ms. Courtney says:

    No Sesame Street?

  44. I actually kind of love bob for being the way he is, hence why i let my children watch the show. He is clumsy, but his flaws are what make him a real character. I believe boys have to fit a certain stereotype; strong,masculine etc and it can be damaging for them not to have enough variety. I also love the fact that the woman is the opposite of usual female characters. Usually they are the ones that are all dazed and flimsy, but shes the sensible one and girls are the ones who truly need strong roles and 3d characters.


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