The truth is as we stand in the middle of summer break, I look at all the great ideas people have for ways to spend the summer days with your kids and things to do to keep the kids busy, and yet there are still times of the day when I rely heavily on TV distraction for the kids to allow me to get some work and other various house duties done.
As it turns out in those moments the kids choose only one channel and that is the Disney channel. When they were younger playhouse Disney was a morning staple in our house. But they soon outgrew those shows (for the most part) and the Disney channel took what turned out to be temporary leave of absence form our house. But this summer Phineas & Ferb along with the other slew of tween type shows have become part of our regular TV watching regime.
Shows like Good Luck Charlie, Ant Farm, Shake it Up, Wizards of Waverly Place and My Babysitter is a Vampire. have all become my kids favorite shows to watch. And I have to admit; they’re not so bad.
The first couple of times I watched these shows with the kids, I’ll confess, I found them pretty annoying, but I went though my mental checklist of things to decide if I was really OK with my kids watching them.
- Good Kids – Yes, of course the kids in these shows get into trouble from time to time, but they’re not bad kids. They generally talk to adults with respect, and there are no whining or spoiled brats in the bunch (except the nemesis of some of the main characters, which is OK).
- Lots of Girls – I have a problem with the lack of decent female leads on kids shows these days and all of the shows I mentioned have strong female leads. Yes, they may get a little boy crazy from time to time, but boys are not the center of their world. They all wear clothes that I think are appropriate for girls of their age, and best of all being good in school and smart is a high priority for the majority of these characters.
- The Parents Aren’t Dumb – So some of these parents can be a little silly, yes, but so can I, so I won’t judge. BUT, these parents are almost always one step ahead of the kids and the kids always get caught when they try to pull a fast one on their parents. These are lessons I want ingrained in my kids brains, YES, you’re parents will ALWAYS catch on.
- School is Cool – As I mentioned above I adore that school and good grades are a priority for a majority of the characters on these shows. It’s the kind of message I want my kids to get as first and third graders.
- Old School Cheesiness – The silly predicaments and situations that occur on these shows are reminiscent of my favorite family sitcoms from when I was a kid, Family Ties, Growing Pains, Who’s The Boss, etc. Granted these new shows on the Disney channel can’t hold a candle to any of my favorites, the simple cheesiness is familiar and comforting to watch.
Once I recognized that these shows fulfilled all the above criteria, I let my guard down. And yes, have even warmed up to them in a slightly begrudgingly way. There are a lot of shows on other networks for the tweenage set that include smartass kids, stupid parents and girls in thigh high boots and micro minis. And I’m not interested in my kids watching that stuff. So I have to tip my hat to the Disney channel for helping my kid’s transition from little kid shows to older kid shows in a positive way. As well as for creating some characters I don’t mind my kids spending a half hour with.
On a side note: the fact that two of the mentioned shows involve the supernatural (Wizards of Waverly Place and My Babysitter’s Is a Vampire) is a fun treat for me. They’re shows that speak to a genre I enjoy yet is targeted for the kids. It’s happy medium that the whole family can enjoy.
What shows are you watching this summer? What makes a show acceptable to you for your kids?
photo from disney channel