Every adult who’s ever watched kids TV knows it can be really annoying for. Kids TV favorites like Barney or Teletubbies can put a parent or babysitter right over the edge of sanity. But not all Kids TV needs to cause adults pain. Here are some quality TV show aimed at kids, but not hazardous to the sanity of adults.
Postcards from Buster (PBS)
The only thing I don’t like about this show is the freaky-looking father bunny. He’s just weird looking. But the show, a spin-off from the series Arthur is educational in a fun way. Buster the Bunny goes around the country with his video camera and follows live-action kids from diverse backgrounds as they do things like participate in cultural dances, do sports or music, and spend time with their families and friends. The kids’ backgrounds really are all over the map, literally and figuratively, which makes it a good eye-opener for kids and adults half-tuned in can also picks up some new info. If your kids don’t watch this show, you may have heard about it in the news last year when it took some flack in some regions for showing (or for not showing) a “two moms” family. Apparently, some parents felt that was a wee bit too much sharing. Interesting and educational for kids. Age group: preschool, elementary
That’s So Raven (Disney Channel, ABC weekends)
Raven-Symone, once the add-on Cosby kid, has her own Disney show which basically follows her misadventures with her two high school buddies. Tweens will like the mild social “drama” and younger kids will just like it ’cause it’s big kids on TV. And big kids are cool. The value of family and friends and doing the right thing are predominant here, but the show’s infrequently preachy. The situations are usually entertaining enough, usually involving her “psychic” ability gone wrong. With so few (if any) kid-friendly sitcoms on primetime TV, this is a good alternative. And it’s funnier than a lot of other cable-kidcoms. Plus, it’ll be weird to see teenagers acting like -what? actually teenagers! – instead of acting like mini-adults (The O.C. anyone?) . Bonus that Raven isn’t a size one twig. Age group: elementary, tween
Sesame Street (PBS)
Okay, you probably don’t need to be told this ultimate classic is a great kids TV show.(Though, yes, with the extended Elmo parts not to mention Journey to Ernie everyday, it may be argued it’s just a tad less tolerable to the adult ear these days. However, there are some plusses, like the frequent (if dated) guest appearances by celebrities, the songs you can sing with your kids, the often funny and sweet puppets your kids love, and the nostalgia factor – those moments when you remember when you used to watch this same sketch. Wow, you’re a classic, too. Age group: preschool
Go, Diego, Go (Nickelodeon)
If you’re among those whose head will explode with one more high-pitched word of uber-annunciated bilingual encouragement from Dora The Explorer, try this show instead. The hyper enthusiasm is there, but the subject matter is exotic animals instead of quests, the songs are different (though, not necessarily better) and the nearly fluorescent pinks and oranges and in are darker, more jungle-friendly greens. It also seems to skew a little older, while remaining fun for younger kids who don’t know any difference. A change of pace, and a little easier on the adult ears and eyes. Age group: pre-school, young elementary
The Amazing Race (CBS)
This show can’t be counted on to be kid-friendly 100% of the time, but exciting world locales, a lot of racing around, and often easy-to-understand tasks make it something even my preschool niece and nephew can follow and enjoy. In the reality arena, it’s probably the “cleanest” show and with all the landmarks visited, it can also be sort of educational. It’s like if Dora The Explorer grew up and had a TV game show. Age group: any, with parental discretion.
TVLand Reruns (www.tvland.com)
Not sure what you’re getting into when you put on a current show? Why not go to the old reliables? TVLand features plenty of blasts from your past, so there’s no need to pre-screen. You can choose from shows you may have first watched in re-runs yourself: I Love Lucy, Andy Griffith, The Brady Bunch, Bewitched, Happy Days. A good way to introduce your kids to some TV shows you may have enjoyed back in the day. Age group: any, with parental discretion
Chances are your kids love to perform. This show, which tends to steer clear of objectionable lyrics and trashy costumes, gives them people to sing along with while adults can enjoy (or snark at) the music. Remember dancing around and singing along with Solid Gold, Fame, or MTV when you were a kid? Or maybe it was American Bandstand. This is kind of the same thing. Age group: any with parental discretion.
TV may not be as good for kids as reading, running around outside, or doing crafts, but, in moderation, it can provide for fun family bonding time, relaxation, and unwinding.