Top 3 Cartoons You Don't Have to Feel Guilty About Letting Your Kids Watch
If you're a parent who's feeling a little guilty for letting your kid watch TV while you catch your breath, here are the top three children's cartoons that have been highly recommended by experts that will actually teach your little one some positive lessons
Remember the time before you had kids but you vowed that when you do someday you would never ever let them watch TV or use a mobile device?
Well, now that you're a parent who is busy juggling your fast-paced job, the endless list of household chores to complete, frantic last-minute errands to run, and of course taking care of your little one, some of you might sheepishly admit you might have spoken too soon (it's ok, we did too!).
Letting your child watch a few cartoons probably sounds pretty tempting especially when you're on the verge of a mummy meltdown, or just need a few minutes to make a quick phone call, fix a snack, or just breathe!
Don't feel guilty if you do though, because researchers have now given the green light for kids to have to a healthy amount of screen time.
But just be careful about what exactly they are exposed to because some cartoons might actually end up teaching your children bad habits.
If you're wondering what exactly you can let your kids view without worrying about unsavoury content, we've found the top three children's cartoons that are highly recommended by experts and approved by other parents which you can let your little one watch while you enjoy your hot cup coffee in peace!
1. Doc McStuffins
What the show is about: Doc McStuffins is a sweet little 6-year-old African-American girl who plays doctor to a lovable motley crew of toys and stuffed animals.
Her mother is a busy real-life doctor who still makes time for her family, and her father is a Stay At Home Dad who can be seen doing the laundry, cooking meals, or tending to other household chores.
The various toys and dolls that Doc helps to diagnose and fix up also come in all sorts of shapes, colours/ skin tones and sizes, each with their own wonderful background story and unique personality.
What the experts say: Dr Myiesha Taylor, who is the President and Co-Founder of the Artemis Medical Society and an emergency medicine physician in the USA agrees that this popular Disney Channel cartoon helps to push boundaries and encourage little girls and also people of colour to have the courage to pursue a career in the medical field.
Dustin Harp, a professor of journalism at the University of Texas, says, "It's really encouraging to see [Doc McStuffins’] representation in children's programming, and it will make a difference to children growing up watching. I believe you can't be what you can't see. It's also quite wonderful to see these girl characters in more than supportive character roles and doing more than waiting for their Prince Charming.”
This cartoon has even been approved by USA's former first lady, Michelle Obama, who made a special appearance on one of the episodes!
What your kids will learn: Doc is a positive role model for little girls and even boys as they learn to develop a gender-balanced view of the world around them.
This animated series also touches on friendship, teaches good manners, encourages good health and hygiene, and promotes racial diversity.
What Singaporean parents say: "Even though we are Malay and not African-American, my daughter loves seeing a cartoon character on TV whose skin colour is similar to hers. She even insisted on dressing up like Doc McStuffins for her friend's costume party last year." (Linda R., mother of four)
"Finally, a good role model for my daughter to look up to besides all those dainty princesses. I like Doc McStuffins because she is a helpful and kind girl who is also nice to her younger brother. I think there are a lot of great messages to be learned in this show." (Amy L., mother of two)
2. Daniel Tiger's Neighbourhood
What the show is about: Daniel is an adorable four-year-old tiger and in each carefully-crafted episode we see how he and his friends explore new skills or experiences like trying unfamilar foods, getting an injection from the doctor, listening to Mummy and Daddy, and how to get along with friends.
This cartoon was actually created specifically for young children 4-years-old and below, and those who need some extra help to develop their little one's social skills such as low-income families or even older children with autism.
Kids will enjoy watching Daniel or his cute friends experience a new skill and describe each step in full detail, while modeling the skill and also encouraging the viewer to try it for themselves.
What the experts say: Researchers who conducted a media study believe that this show can help children develop socio-emotional skills and other school readiness skills.
But it's also important that parents help to reinforce the key messages with their own kids after watching each episode.
According to Malinda Colwell, Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies in the College of Human Sciences, and one of the authors of the media study, this show was developed with children and their families in mind.
“Our findings support the importance of parents talking with their children about social situations when children are quite young. This reinforces the idea that young preschoolers are learning much about social interactions, as well as expressing and responding to emotions, through what they see Daniel Tiger and his friends do”, she says.
What your kids will learn: By watching how the likeable characters handle different skills and issues, this can help with your kid's lifeskills, social skills, emotional development, school readiness skills, and empathy towards others.
Parents can also benefit from watching this show as the adult characters featured (like the teacher, doctor, and parents) all model empathy, listening, gentle encouragement and emotion recognition.
What Singaporean parents say: "I love watching this cartoon with my son! The problems that the characters face are relatable for children and we like to talk about the lesson learned after the show is over." (Kaz N., mother of one)
"This is a very sweet cartoon that helps kids to be more understanding towards others and also how to better control their own emotions and actions. I think all parents should let their kids watch it." (Vana K., mother of two)
3. Sesame Street
What the show is about: This long-running children's programme which first aired in 1969 includes cartoon shorts, loveable and friendly furry monster puppets, and real people who all live in the close-knit neighbourhood of Sesame Street.
There is a wonderful racially diverse mix in the show and it is also very inclusive as there are characters who have autism, are deaf, use a wheelchair, and more.
There are great lessons to be learned in each episode and kids will enjoy all the upbeat songs and fun games that get them up on their feet and moving.
What the experts say: Numerous scientific studies have shown the many benefits of this popular children's programme, and one study even suggests that Sesame Street is good enough to actually replace preschool!
Researcher, Melissa Kearney from the University of Maryland says, "There are lots of kids who don't have access to quality preschool and this can help by watching 'Sesame Street'.... if designed well, TV and other electronics can be used [to aid learning]."
Common Sense Media has given Sesame Street a rating of 5/5 for educational value and acknowledges that it includes positive messages and positive role models.
What your kids will learn: Not only is there great educational content featured, by watching this show your child can pick up early skills in literacy, math, and science.
According to past studies conducted, kids who watch the programme showed up to 67% higher literacy scores by the age of four, 40% better social skills than those who had not viewed the programme, and also a 127% increased interest in eating certain vegetables.
Strong emotions and relatable scenarios will also be explored, such as being worried about the addition of a new baby sister or brother in the family, missing a friend, feelings of low self-esteem, and being afraid of the dark -- all of which are handled with positive messages and are self-affirming.
What Singaporean parents say: "I actually remember watching this show as a child with my siblings and we all loved it so much. There's so much to learn in each episode and they seem to reinvent themselves and get even better as the years go by." (Ron I., father of one)
"This is a classic children's TV show which I think almost everyone watched while growing up. My kids like it too and I don't worry about any indecent scenes, characters that are bad influences, or anything negative because Sesame Street is such a great child-friendly programme." (Donna M., mother of four)
Do you agree with what the experts have to say about these children's cartoons? Which one is your little one's favourite? Are there any other educational shows that you think are great for kids? Tell us by leaving a comment below!