You’ve just returned home from work. You are tired and drained. Yet, there is much to do such as getting dinner ready, doing the laundry, going through the mail and tidying up, just to name a few items on your to-do list. Your 7-year-old son is throwing a temper tantrum as you refused to buy him a MacDonald’s Happy Meal on the way home from school.
Need a breather? Well, the T.V remote is at arm’s length. You switch on the television and surprise, surprise, your son calms down. He sits quietly on the sofa, engrossed with the images emitted from the black box in front of him. There is peace once again in your home.
The television is a lifesaver for busy working parents.
Check the best television programs for you in Singapore
However, do we really know what our children are watching? Are the hours spent watching the television doing more harm than good?
Here’s my personal list of the top 10 children’s programs which I find beneficial and entertaining as well as 10 programs to steer clear of, if possible! (TV timings may vary, please check with your TV guide for current updates.)
Top 10 favourites
1. Sesame Street (weekday mornings at 9am on OKTO)
I loved watching Sesame Street when I was a kid and actually still do! It’s a timeless classic which has thrived over time, giving valuable lessons to young children, not only about the ABCs and 123s but also lessons in life. Kindness, good manners and diversity of race and culture – all these flourish, often in catchy songs, in Sesame Street! It’s no wonder that we love returning there!
2. Little Einsteins (weekday afternoons at 4pm on Playhouse Disney, Channel 34, Starhub)
Follow the adventures of Leo and his sister, Annie together with June, Quincy and Rocket as they embark on missions which lead them to amazing cities and places all around the world. They introduce the young viewers to classical music in a fun and engaging way. The team is always ready to offer upbeat encouraging praises like “Way to go! That is very good clapping!” and “Awesome dance steps” when you participate in their adventures.
3. WordWorld (weekday afternoons at 3pm on Playhouse Disney, Channel 34, Starhub)
Words come alive in the form of animals, plants and objects. They save the day and they become your child’s best friends. I am amazed at how creative the illustrators are in making words into the objects that they name. For example, a dog’s body is formed by the alphabets “D”, “O” and “G”. WordWorld makes spelling so much fun!
4. Charlie and Lola (weekday mornings and afternoons at various times on Beebies (BBC), Channel 31, Starhub)
Lola, the younger sister of Charlie, has a vivid imagination which often leads her into either trouble or dismay. Charlie, the older brother is ever so patient in guiding her and teaching her. However, every now and again, Lola teaches Charlie to have fun too. I like to see how the two siblings interact and work together and of course, Lola’s crazy ideas!
5. Berenstain Bears (weekday mornings and afternoons at various times on KidsCo:Asia, Channel 29, MIO)
The cartoon series is based on the children’s books of the same name which teaches the good values in life to children. Pa and Ma’s children named Brother and Sister go through situations that children often go through such as peer pressure, having team spirit, saving money, being grateful for one’s blessings and many other challenges. Pa and Ma are always able to provide the right solution, advice and comfort to their children. Parents can learn a lot from this series as well!
6. Tricky TV and Spellz (Monday nights at 830pm, OKTO)
Both programs teach simple magic tricks to children. The instructions are easy to follow. Kids will be able to put them into practice with some guidance from parents. The child’s self esteem and confidence will increase greatly when they accomplish the tricks and entertain their parents. I know my son loves watching Tricky TV which unfortunately ended its run on OKTO but Spellz will be starting its screening on OKTO from 14 December onwards so do catch it!
7. Growing Up (weekdays at 1pm on Animal Planet, Channel 10, Starhub)
This program shows how young animals grow up in their different environments. A recent episode followed a pair of clouded leopard cubs born in captivity and hand raised by Sara, a professional surrogate mother specializing in big cats. Children of school-going age and their parents will have their eyes opened to the lives of animals that we don’t normally see in Singapore.
8. What Would Happen If… Nat Geo Junior (weekdays at 5pm on National Geographic Channel, Channel 11, Starhub)
Dr. Marty Jopson takes great pains to answer all the quirky questions that are in your mind but you are afraid to ask them aloud! Questions like “Is it possible to open your car door via your mobile phone?” or “Can you blast a watermelon with lightning?” This series shows science in an unconventional light, making it interesting for its young viewers.
9. How do They Do It? (weekdays at 5pm on Discovery Channel, Channel 12, Starhub)
This program shows you the complex technological processes that lie behind the creation of normal everyday products in the modern world. It’s an eye-opener. A recent episode was about the creation of a diamond mine in a crater of a volcano. It is perhaps more suitable for older children but it’s a good teaching tool to widen their imagination and creativity. Another program which allows you as the parent to learn a thing or two about technology and invention.
10. Stranger Than You! (Mondays nights at 830pm on OKTO)
This series invites you into the lives of children in other parts of the world, showing us how different and remarkable their lives are compared to ours in Singapore. A recent episode was about a young girl in the Philippines who had the gift of healing. Her neighbours and villagers from neighbouring towns visit her daily to be healed. This program gives your child insight about the different growing up experiences of children in other countries and broadens their minds and outlook on life. Unfortunately, this series is ending soon but I hope OKTO will screen its new season next year.
10 shows to steer clear of!
All of these programs have a similar objective: to win your children’s viewing loyalty and tempt them with an array of merchandise that is related to these cartoons. They are not educational, often meaningless, violent and do nothing to improve your child’s intelligence and creativity. These shows often result in tension headaches in parents together with a big credit card bill, especially around this holiday season.
- B Legend! Battle B Daman! (OKTO)
- Bakugan Battle Brawlers
- Ben 10
- Dinosaur King
- Masked Rider Kabuto
- Power Rangers
- Spongebob Squarepants
- Super Yoyo
- Winx Club
I know the pulling power of such programs is very strong especially when your children’s friends all have the same Ben 10 bags or Winx Club pencil cases. Parents will have to be resilient and creative to teach their children that life is not all about having the latest toys and gadgets. It’s about counting your blessings and appreciating your family and friends. Why not switch off the television set tonight and head out for an evening walk in the neighbourhood park with your kids?
Help…my kid is a couch potato!
Do you know what your child is watching on TV?
The Television Is Still Number One