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Fairly Odd Mother

Frantically waving my magic wand to make wishes come true.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

PBS Kids can babysit my kids any day

I have yet to meet a mom who doesn't puff up with pride at a display of brilliance by their child.

Yeah, I do it, too.


What I've learned NOT to do, though, is ask, "how do you know that, my smart little dumpling?".


Because, often the answer isn't, "I learned it from YOU, Mommy!", but,
"I learned it from Curious George/Cyberchase/SUPER WHY!."

Sigh. There goes my "we-only-watch-a-teeny-bit-of-tv" cover.

OK, so my kids watch television. Like chocolate and vodka, I believe in everything in moderation. Although when it comes to vodka, I'm pretty strict with the kids. And, when it comes to TV, I do have a few rules. These rules were created mainly because I do not want to watch the same shows as a four-year-old.

The Fairly Odd Mother Rules for Unsupervised Television Watching

1. Whenever possible, put the channel on PBS Kids. In our home, the television is used as a babysitter, and I appreciate that PBS' babysitters are among some of the least annoying in the business (as opposed to those channels that rhyme with "Pysney" or "Flickolodeon").

2. Electric Company and Fetch notwithstanding, there are to be no shows with live people starring in them. Child actors tend to fall into two camps: obnoxious and rich, or obnoxious and super cute. Both are obnoxious which is not a trait I want my kids learning any more than they have already. Thankfully, PBS tends to stick with adorable animated creatures.

3. Try to learn something from the show other than the theme song, m'kay? SUPER WHY! will teach them a new version of the ABC song to mix things up a bit. Cyberchase will teach them, um, how to solve math problems to save the universe (remember, I don't actually watch the shows). Curious George teaches them that even a troublesome little monkey is lovable, although I'm pretty sure the Man in the Yellow Hat has never had to pry a biting Curious George off his sister monkey, so cut it out already.

4. Commericals = BLAH. Especially if the commercials start with, "Are you drowning in credit card debt?" I mean, my kids don't even OWN a credit card! What are these advertisers thinking?

I'm not sure if my Rules are what the kind people of PBS Kids wanted to know when they invited my kids and I to a lovely luncheon to discuss the role of media in our family life.

While my kids colored and hid from a costumed Martha the Dog in the next room, I was able to hear from the creators of SUPER WHY! and Martha Speaks. I was so impressed by the lengths PBS Kids goes through to make sure kids actually learn something from watching their shows.

They even sent us home with fun SUPER WHY! activities for the kids to do after they watched the show although D would not wear the Princess Presto mask no matter how I pleaded.It all solidified what I already know: let your kids watch PBS Kids and they will sound super smart when your neighbor asks them a question about the stars, a fairy tale or how many donuts are in a dozen. Just remember to keep your mouth shut and not ask your kids how they learned that tidbit of information, and no one need be the wiser.

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9 Comments:

Anonymous Audrey at Barking Mad! said...

Gaby loves SUPER WHY. LOVES IT. Alas, it's really the only thing on PBS she does love, which is cool with me because I can NOT stand Caillou and so many of the other shows on now.

Now if I could only get her to realize that Dora and Diego are really not as fascinating as she seems to believe they are. But alas, who can argue with the fact that she now knows several more varieties of jungle animals than her mommy...and we can't forget about the Pygmy Mama Shits, can we?

9:31 PM  
Blogger Suburb Sierra said...

I find it interesting that my kids will only watch PBS or Noggin. Many of the kids in the neighborhood are hooked on the commercial-laden channels, but my kids still request these two.

Fine by me, as well!

8:54 AM  
OpenID pandorican said...

I'm with you on the TV thing, (though my kid learned from the older kids about Hannah Montana and Zack and Cody and it's all just gone downhill from there.)
I totally fought to put a TV in the playroom JUST SO I DON'T HAVE TO WATCH that shit myself. My husband was all "She doesn't NEED a TV" and I was like "I don't NEED to have the fricking map song from Dora song stuck in my head all day." So, I won that argument.

8:57 AM  
Blogger Beck said...

Now that my oldest is 10, we are now watching some of the shittiest tweenaged sitcoms ever made. I weep for Arthur. And Little Bear. GOD, I MISS THEM.

1:30 PM  
Anonymous missysoupy said...

I had to laugh when I read this post. Out loud. Because we, too, are PBS-aholics. And were so content with our PBS Kids (we have no cable, as we're Amish that way). Until that blasted HDTV came along, and now there is another network of kids programming. You know the one...starts with a Q and ends with a bo? And although some of the shows are pretty ok (Adventures in the Book of Virtues?! Right on!), most of the day I hear, "Mommy -- I want THAT for my birthday." It's either Chixos or the Pancake Puff Pan. What the??

So here's to our favorite babysitters -- Word Girl, Ruff Ruffman, various animals made out of letters. Love 'em. They sure beat the teenager down the street who snaps her gum and spends all night texting her bff. Wooord up!

2:17 PM  
Anonymous anita tedaldi said...

Great post! I agree that PBS really is great for kids. My oldest one is now gravitating toward watching more Disney but the commercials are killers. I really dislike Max and Ruby but love Little Bill!

Some kids programs are really educational!
Cheers,
Anita

11:43 PM  
Blogger Heather @critter chronicles said...

More than actual adult programming, what I miss most about US TV is PBS Kids. We had PBS Sprout, too, and that was a mind-saver. 24 hours a day, there was preschool-appropriate programming on there, though I will always stick to my guns when saying she didn't watch it after 9pm or before 7am. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

12:28 AM  
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10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now that my oldest is 10, we are now watching some of the shittiest tweenaged sitcoms ever made. I weep for Arthur. And Little Bear. GOD, I MISS THEM.

10:44 AM  

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