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What Are Your Kids Watching on TV?

by Jeana Lee Tahnk


What Are Your Kids Watching on TV?

The breadth and variety of kids’ TV programming nowadays has changed dramatically from childhood favorites of our generation such as Sesame Street, Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, Reading Rainbow and Electric Company. With an abundance of stations like the Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., PBS Kids and Disney, choices abound when it comes to the current array of kids’ TV shows. 

The breadth and variety of kids’ TV programming nowadays has changed dramatically from childhood favorites of our generation such as Sesame Street, Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, Reading Rainbow and Electric Company. With an abundance of stations like the Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., PBS Kids and Disney, choices abound when it comes to the current array of kids’ TV shows. 

For those with young kids, it’s always a goal to strike a balance between putting on shows that are both entertaining and educational. Two years ago, there was an extensive study by Children Now, a national advocacy for children, on the educational quality of kids’ programming. Of the shows studied, Children Now classified the following eight programs as ones that demonstrate “exemplary” educational content (in no particular order):

  • Sesame Street (shown on PBS)
  • Beakman’s World (shown on commercial TV)
  • Between the Lions (shown on PBS)
  • 3-2-1 Penguins (shown on commercial TV)
  • Cyberchase (shown on PBS)
  • The Suite Life of Zack and Cody (shown on commercial TV)
  • Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman (shown on PBS)
  • Teen Kids News (shown on commercial TV)

Unfortunately, there haven’t been any comparable studies conducted since then so with all the shows that have been created in the past couple years, it’s likely that the list would be expanded if all programs were re-evaluated. The overall quality of TV programming is very high and many shows, although not classified as ‘exemplary,’ are still very educational. And sometimes, it’s OK for kids to watch shows because they’re just entertaining.

The go-to show choices in my household right now are Wild Kratts, Bubble Guppies, The Cat in the Hat, Curious George and The Backyardigans. What are your kids’ favorites?  

 

Note: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children over the age of two should watch no more than two hours a day, and children younger than that shouldn’t watch television at all. 

 

 

 

 

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