Kids & TV: The Good, The Bad, The Free Babysitting

I am pretty much a professional basketball player dressed as a SAHM. My job is to play with a bunch of immature people all the time. We get sweaty, there’s yelling, fancy sneakers, high-fives, lots of running, sometimes there’s even cursing or hitting, Time Outs get called on a regular basis.

The main difference is that I just don’t get paid millions to do my job.

(And we don’t have a uniform.  Which would be kind of cool.  But, I digress…)

Since I don’t get paid, most Home Game Days I let the kids watch TV.

Sure, we also play board games, do dress-up, build forts, have imaginary play time, play sports in the yard, read, draw, do crafts, and so on.

But sometimes I need to step away, be left alone for a 30-90 minute stretch so I can do housework or write or not go clinically insane from all their constant demands for Snack.

TV has its Good Points and its Bad Points.

The Good Points include:

  1. Leaving me alone.
  2. Bonding with each other over favorite shows like I did with my brother as a kid.
  3. Leaving me alone.
  4. Learning fun songs & dances.
  5. Leaving me alone.
  6. Learning important Life Lessons or skills from cartoony friends.

I have learned to accept the Bad because the Good is so good.

Here are some of my favorite Goods, and the Bads that I’ve learned to live with (for now):

Yo Gabba! Gabba!

GOOD: Don’t bite your friends.  Everyone has a talent.
BAD: Food is so emotionally sensitive that it will get depressed and openly weep if you don’t invite it to the party in your tummy.  Bumpy dancing dildos are nothing to fear.

Dora the Explorer

GOOD: Spanish phrases like “Buenas Noches”. Map-reading skills for assisting Mommy when the car’s GPS is on the fritz.
BAD: How to relentlessly scream at the television like a drunken dude watching a Final Four tournament when you’re only four years old.  Befriending monkeys.

Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!

GOOD: Creating silly dances is fun and exercise. Being happy all the time is possible.
BAD: Kickety kickball as an indoor sport near the flatscreen TV and large windows.

The Wonder Pets

GOOD: Teamwork.  It works.
BAD: Teamwork cannot begin without a couple rally cries of “WHAT’S GONNA WORK?!” on the top of your lungs, even when mere inches from your teammates.

The Backyardigans

GOOD: Imagination is awesome.
BAD: Every. Single. Thing. You ever do should be accompanied by a song and dance routine with your friends.  Is fun possible if you don’t have a back yard?

The Fresh Beat Band

GOOD: Learn to make the best out of a tricky situation.
BAD: The misinformation that being “Just like a rock star” includes wearing a silver faux leather jacket with a star on it, playing an instrument that looks like giant blue testicles, and hopping around really, really enthusiastically.

Peppa Pig

GOOD: Big Kids and Little Kids can learn to play together.
BAD: It is acceptable to openly joke around about Daddy being fat & stupid.  Even to his face.

Dino Dan

GOOD: Real facts about the dinosaurs that roamed Earth millions of years ago.
BAD: That it’s not weird that a kid in your class pretends dinosaurs are not only still around, but they hang out at the school playground. (Cue the antipsychotic drugs)

Ni Hao, Kai Lan

GOOD: Taking turns is the fair way to play.  Hitting isn’t cool.
BAD: Inaccurate representation of the law of physics in how it applies to head size/body size ratio. (Waiting for episode when someone’s massive head crushes his pin-like body…possibly an After School Special of some sort?)

So between the Free Babysitting the TV gives me, and the perks like reminding the kids not to bite one another, I think I’ll keep up our little NickJr marathons for now.

Like this? See also: Dude. This Ain’t The People’s Court

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  1. Anne says

    Peppa Pig is a show I have a love/ hate with –
    Love: adult humor added in in a tasteful way.
    Hate: Jumping in muddy puddles…thanks. Really, thanks.

  2. Terri Snyder says

    Anything at all is better than Max & Ruby. Srsly. That girl is a Victorian-era nightmare teaching girls it’s okay to talk to your younger siblings like they’re idiots, make them do what you want all the time, and how to be a “perfect hostess” — HATE IT.

  3. says

    SIP (sister in parenting), thank you for acknowledging what most of us are too ashamed to admit (TV practically raised me and I turned out ok to mediocre!). If it wasn’t for TV, I would be in a field, covered in macaroni rocking back and forth.
    Bethany Thies recently posted..An Inconvenient PoopMy Profile

  4. says

    “playing an instrument that looks like giant blue testicles” HOLY CRAP…never noticed that before, but you are SO RIGHT! Coincidence? I think not. I can’t get past the fact that that guy is such a skilled rapper in his ginormous yellow cardigan. At least they aren’t stereotyping.
    The Bearded Iris recently posted..A Letter from My Future SelfMy Profile

  5. says

    Genius. Fo sho we should avoid the bumpy dancing dildos and never, never make friends with monkeys. These two scenarios alone illustrate everything that’s wrong with children’s TV.

    And thank you for not including Caillou on the list because he’s Satan’s bald minion and there’s just nothing good about wearing primary colors all the time. Caillou: It’s Good For Nothing.
    Ninja Mom recently posted..I’m not cheating on you, I’m cheating for you.My Profile

  6. says

    Is it weird that other than Dora, I don’t know ANY of these shows? Is it an American thing? Do these play in Canada? Or is it the fact that my kid’s only 6 m/o so I have yet to be subjected to big blue balls and dancing bumpy dildos?

    Although, I do know who Caillou is and have returned EVERY single Caillou book people have given my son… even in books, Caillou is still friggin’ annoying!
    Karine recently posted..A Chilly, Not So Bright, IdeaMy Profile

    • says

      Karine: RUN from Caillou. That kid is single-handedly ruining Canada’s good name.
      You have another couple years before the whole TV thing comes into play, and then it will be dancing dildos galore. Woo hoo!

  7. says

    First of all, I am envious that your kids still watch sweet (albeit annoying) shows like that. There is NOTHING good about SpongeBob.

    Second of all, if you DIDN’T use TV as a babysitter, then we wouldn’t get insightful posts like this one. So, really it’s for the greater good. You are helping us moms to ponder life’s most profound questions.

    Third of all, what about Thomas the Tank Engine? Good: It’s a sweet train, all little boys like it and it makes them want to grow up to be a train engineer. Bad: Have you ever seen that show? WTF? It’s the most stuffy, boring thing on TV!
    Stephanie recently posted..My boys can be so cute… sometimesMy Profile

    • says

      We watch SpongeBob, and other than the occasional fresh word? Meh. He doesn’t bother me much.

      But OH MY GOD Thomas the Tank Engine…how is this show so popular? L-to-the-AME. Thanks for reminding me to appreciate the fact that my kids were never into this. Snooooooze.

  8. says

    I have some horrible hybrid song stuck in my head now.

    “I’m the map, I’m the map, don’t bite your friends, Pajama Party time, jumpin around, don’t bite your friends…”

    GET OUT OF MY HEAD!!!! I love these babysitters too, but this is why I have to leave the room before they’re allowed to unmute the TV. :)
    hollow tree ventures recently posted..To Whom It May ConcernMy Profile

  9. says

    bumpy dancing dildos – very dangerous to read while drinking coffee.

    I’ve shamelessly used the best babysitter ever, our television. We’ve all done it (some moms I know wil never admit to it, though). It works. Why mess with what works? I sure won’t!

    Good Luck Charlie:
    GOOD: Charlie is adorable. Siblings actually get along. All problems can be fixed in a half an hour.
    BAD: Kids are portrayed as smarter than their dumb-as-dogshit parents.

  10. says

    I took my daughter and one of her friends to see Yo Gabba Gabba LIVE last year .. never.again.

    They didn’t even have the beer tent open WTF?

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