When our first little Rhooster came along, like many parents, we swore our little one would be television free for as long as possible. After all the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends no television for children two and under and no more than 1 to 2 hours of screen time a day for children two and above. So we set the rules with our child care providers and family.
But life has this annoying habit of getting in the way of best intentions. We realized being TV-free was not exactly realistic.
But what to watch?
We set some criteria. We wanted our choices to be commercial-free, educational, and something we could stand watching again and again…and again. While we grew up with Tom and Jerry and lots of other cartoons, we felt that they weren’t the best choice for our little Rhooster. So here are some recommendations from our experiences.
Mister Rogers – We like this show just the way it is. The sedate pace, gentle tones, and thoughtful topics still resonate, even if the reruns are peppered with VHS tapes and other old technology. And it’s a hit with our little ones who enjoys the songs, puppets, and special visits. Plus – there’s something really cool about our kids watching the same shows we did. You can still catch reruns of this classic early Saturday mornings on most PBS affiliates, so set your DVR.
Caillou – I’m sure you’ve heard the rumors. Caillou is whiny. Caillou is a brat. Caillou has no hair. Despite all this it’s a program we’re happy to let our little Rhoosters watch. Caillou does have his moments, but no more than any other toddler. The little guy is unfailingly polite and espouses positive life lessons including helping, sharing, practicing, and patience. His experiences make a great reference point when we’re heading into new situations. “Remember when Caillou…?” has been often asked in our house. And for us, the lack of a strong merchandising machine behind the show is a bonus. And did we mention our little ones love the program?
The other thing we love about both shows – and frankly anything on PBS Kids – is the great educational content online that will occupy your little one for hours on end once they discover your iPad!
Stay tuned for more programming picks from our Rhoost Moms.
We all know that reading is important for our children’s language development, brain development, and overall well-being. But it can be hard to persevere when your child only appreciates the tasty corners of board books or is asking for the fifteenth reading of “Pat the Bunny”. In. A. Row.
So in our ongoing mission to help parents, we wanted to offer some book recommendations to complement the classics that may already be on your bookshelf.
Repetition is a joy, as well as developmental requirement for toddlers. Less so for parents.
Again tells the story of a sleepy mommy dragon whose feisty offspring insists that his fairy tale be read “Again!” And again. Alas, sometimes a sleepy mommy dragon can only resist slumber for so long. And a grumpy little dragon has to deal with the consequences of his anger.
That mad little dragon burns up with so much anger that his fiery breath burns a hole through the end of his book – a very real hole in the back cover – forcing the fairy tale characters to flee.
My two-year-old Rhooster was blown away by this. Waking up the next morning, my little one pointed at the book basket and said “That book has a hole mommy! A hole!” The little Rhooster is still talking about the dragon.
Beyond captivating my toddler and having a very creative concept, the book has been great for teachable moments. I’ve used it to talk about the consequences of anger, the power of empathy (aka mommy can get sleepy too), and the importance of manners (Again, _please_!).
Recommended ages are 2-6. Let us know what you think if this book and what you are reading…
As parents, we are role models. Or given toddlers, more like mimic models. This is why the Rhoost moms have now say “Fudge” or “Shoot” or “Fluster Duck” rather than the alternatives. But when it comes to child safety are we setting a good example?
Here are just a few habits we had to break to make sure we were inspiring our little Rhoosters.
Climbing: Do you climb over your safety gate? Think twice before inspiring the little ones with this trick.
Stepping Up: Need to pull down something from that top shelf? Use a step ladder rather than popping onto a handy kitchen chair. It’s safer for you and sets a better example.
Both Ways: In a quiet neighborhood it’s easy to forget the rules about crossing the street, especially if you’re hurry to get home after a long afternoon at the playground. Start setting good habits now by taking every street crossing opportunity to look both ways, cross at crosswalks, and wait for walk signals.
Manners. Manners. Manners: Are you saying please and thank you to your significant other? Practice your politeness to inspire your little one.