There was a time, about 6 months ago, when the only thing you would see/hear/do in our house was Daniel Tiger. Everything revolved around Daniel Tiger and his friends. Recently, Tyler has broadened his viewing horizons to include other shows, but we still revert to good ol’ Daniel every now and then. As a parent, it’s one of my favorite shows for my boys to watch.
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is a PBS show, but we watch it on Netflix or Amazon Prime most of the time. It’s based on the children of the iconic characters from the old Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood show. I never watched that one growing up, but I know a lot of people who did. Daniel Tiger is a cute animated show that has a lot of catchy songs to teach you lessons. And a bonus: I don’t really find it annoying like some of the other shows!
Perhaps my favorite part about my boys watching Daniel Tiger is the life lessons that they teach in the show. Sure, there are shows that teach reading and math and science and other important subjects. But those can be learned in a classroom. These life lessons are things that need to be instilled in a child at a young age to really stick with them. The episodes all focus on at least one socio-emotional issue and how to handle it. For example, one of the first episodes is about something going wrong, and how to find the good in it. Daniel Tiger’s birthday cake gets squished, but it still tastes good!
You don’t know how often I find myself humming a Daniel Tiger song. It’s a little sad, really. But, they are very catchy songs, which help to reinforce the life lessons in the episodes. Even though we don’t watch the show very often anymore, we still sing the songs all the time. They are great reminders of the lessons taught and what to do. An example we often use with our picky eater, is the song about trying new foods. “You’ve gotta try new foods ’cause they might taste good.” Sometimes, we can sing the song and get Tyler to do it because it’s what Daniel Tiger does. Other times he is the one that will sing a song to us.
Daniel Tiger helps to normalize all of your feelings and emotions. It doesn’t just try to tell you to get over it and be happy again. There are episodes that cover a huge variety of emotions, from jealousy to frustration to sadness. Usually there is someone who is feeling a more negative emotion, and they use one of their catchy songs to help themselves figure out the emotion. One example of embracing that all emotions are normal, is the song about being sad. It tells you that it’s ok to feel sad, and you’ll feel better again little by little.
From a more political standpoint, I love that there are mixed families in the show. It helps to teach children that there are many variations to what is normal. Daniel Tiger lives with his mom and dad, and in season 2 his sister is born (and they go into the feelings and emotions that comes with being an older sibling). Prince Wednesday is the youngest child living with his parents and older brother. Katerina Kittycat lives with just her mom, no dad is ever mentioned. O the owl lives with his uncle X. Miss Elaina has a mixed race family with a white mom and black dad. Nothing is ever mentioned about the different family dynamics, but the fact that they are in there like that helps make it all normal for children to see.