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I was reading a new study that shows that TV might be good for your kids. WHAT? I know… we hear so many horror stories about how it is awful for our kids. Honestly, like anything, a little portion control goes a long way. It’s nice to know that on those days when I just want to get some work done, or just have a lazy Saturday morning… I don’t have to feel bad about it.
According to PBS.org, it might be a good thing. “Did watching Daniel Tiger help kids learn these important social skills? The short answer—yes. The long answer—there’s a catch. Here’s what we found. Kids in the study who watched Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood had higher levels of empathy, were better at recognizing emotions, and were more confident in social situations than the kids who watched the nature show. This is especially true for low-income children and kids ages 4 and younger.
The catch? Kids experienced the above benefits only when their parents regularly talk with them about what’s on TV. In other words, the study found that it was the combination of watching Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and parent-child conversations about TV that produced increases in children’s social skills. Neither watching the show alone, nor talking alone, was enough. It takes both.”
They go on to say ”
“Many of us grew up watching Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. You might remember that Mr. Rogers often visited the Neighborhood of Make-Believe where he interacted with several puppet friends. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is the cartoon descendant of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. The show is designed using Fred Rogers’ social-emotional curriculum for teaching skills to young children. Each show is carefully researched and scripted in order to maintain children’s attention, encourage interaction, and reinforce specific lessons.
Just last week I spoke with Angela Santomero, the creator of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. She was not surprised when I told her about our research, including the essential role of parents in helping kids learn from media. “I agree that parental involvement with media makes a huge difference in educating our kids,” she said. “We are told time and time again how much preschoolers and parents are using our strategies in their everyday lives.”
Here are 5 questions to ask your kids while they are watching their TV shows:
1- I love how Daniel was so helpful. What are some things that you can do to help Mommy? Your friends? Your sister/brother?
2- Did you see how Daniel stopped getting angry and did something else? When you get mad at your little brother/sister, what can you do instead of yelling? Let’s write them down.
3- Maybe we can practice that song at night? I think it’s a great one and it will help us remember that we need to be kind to others. Can you teach me?
4- Did you see how Daniel Tiger was kind to all of his friends? Isn’t that great? He doesn’t make anyone feel bad and he always thinks about others. How can we do that at school?
5- Daniel Tiger makes mistakes and so do we. Today I made a mistake when I _____. I fixed it by ______. What mistake did you make today? How did you fix it? We can fix it together and make a plan for next time. Everyone makes mistakes… it’s just learning how to handle it that matters.”
And if you are looking for ideas to do on the days when you want to get out… here are some ideas: