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Amazing Kid Shows You’ll Actually Want To Watch, Too (No, Really)
Sometimes my kids watch TV without me because I’m making dinner, finishing my work, or just catching my breath. I’ll let them watch anything age-appropriate and semi-educational, even if it has whiny characters (I’m looking at you, Caillou) or seriously annoying theme music because hey, I’m in the kitchen.
Of course, there are times when I want to cuddle on the couch with my kids and watch too. That’s when I get bossy about the remote. Let’s put it this way: When I’m part of the audience, Barney is not an option. Luckily, with the advent of streaming, there are so many choices. I can steer my kids to the best of past and present TV series, even throwing in some classics from my own childhood.
Amazing Kid Shows You'll Want to Watch, Too
STEM-boosting, sweet, and not too loud (thanks to a calming narrator and a non-talking monkey),
Curious George is perfect for small children and painless for parents. Each half hour is made up of two mini episodes, which can be so helpful when your kid begs for just one more show. Bonus for grown-ups: Dr. John performs the bluesy theme song and Belinda Carlisle pops up to sing about submarines. Photo: Theatre Works USA
If you don’t know who lives in a pineapple under the sea, it's time you immersed yourself in the underwater world of Bikini Bottom. SpongeBob's silliness works equally well for kids and adults, especially with all the hidden jokes that go over children's heads (like a cake that reads "Sorry for the Scabies" or a reference to "that time of the month"). It's also fun to listen for big name guest stars like Gene Simmons, Tina Fey, and Ricky Gervais.
Photo: We Got This Covered
Wonderfully weird, this animated series follows the adventures of Jack the Dog and Finn the Human as they battle evil to protect Princess Bubblegum in the Land of Ooo. If that’s not perfectly clear, just check out this highly imaginative show that defies explanation but will keep all of you intrigued.
Photo: Thing Pic
A brother and sister move to Gravity Falls, a mysterious Oregon town full of strange characters and happenings -- kind of like a kid's version of Twin Peaks. The excellent voice cast has included such Hollywood favorites as Jason Ritter, Linda Cardellini, Jennifer Coolidge, T.J. Miller, J.K. Simmons, and more.
Photo: TV Insider
This Disney series about a young girl who cures her ailing stuffed animals is just what the doctor ordered: It's relentlessly positive, teaches problem solving and compassion, and will finally get your kids interested in that doctor's kit you bought them (just be prepared for a lot of ticklish check-ups). The quirky stuffed animals are always amusing, but I especially enjoy the inclusion of Doc's parents, a modern stay-at-home dad and physician mom.
Good Luck Charlie
In this innocent and upbeat live action Disney sitcom, a family with three older kids welcomes a baby girl, and everybody must pitch in when the mom goes back to work. School-aged kids will be excited to watch a show with real teenagers in it, but you can trust they won’t be turned into sass-monsters whose favorite word is “stupid.” Parent approved!
Photo: M Magazine
The Brady Bunch
I used to come home from school every day and watch reruns of this classic before I did my homework. There was something so comforting about this warm, close-knit family that took its children's problems
so seriously, like getting braces, losing a favorite toy, and trying to set a world record for teeter-tottering (that's a big deal, right there). Even though the storylines (and wardrobes) are a bit dated, I was happy to discover that my daughter enjoys the show, and it's so much fun reliving everything Brady with her. Photo: MeTV Network
Had enough sitcom plots? You can actually learn a new language while watching TV with your kids. These instructional shows -- available in Spanish, French, Italian, German, Chinese, and more -- are organized into categories like home, feelings, eating, and counting. The combination of live action demonstrations and cute Panda cartoons will capture young children's attention while keeping parent's brains alive. Muy bueno!
I Love Lucy
You might not immediately think of a black-and-white sitcom from the 1950s as kids' TV, but this classic slapstick comedy is easy to follow and will totally crack them up. Start them out with “Job Switching” (Season 2, episode 1), which finds Lucy and Ethel unable to keep up with the assembly line at a candy factory, and they'll be hooked.
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