I watch A LOT of children’s television. Heaven help me. I pass the time by interpreting a jealous love triangle between Carmela, Manny, and Kelly and fixating on my favorite Imagination Mover (RICH!). Anything to get my kicks while the toddler does his thing, right?
I’ll tell you what I DON’T get a kick out of – these shows that seem to be helping kids to “problem solve” when maybe they should be helping kids to determine what’s a real “problem” in the first place.
We love SuperWhy! and are tentatively enjoying the new Special Agent Oso. But both shows follow the same format: a child is (gasp!) undone by some totally basic “challenge” and must be “rescued” by the characters in the show.
The other day on SuperWhy!, a little girl didn’t want to play a game the boys were suggesting, and she practically had a mental breakdown trying to figure out what to do. This morning on Special Agent Oso, a 5 yr old boy was told by his mother that he needed to start brushing his teeth on his own (cut to the boy in wide-eyed panic). In both episodes, the main characters stepped in and helped each child through their “crisis.”
I appreciate the sentiment: little people need help navigating a big world.
But maybe little people also need to learn to let some things slide. Kids are already master thespians, making mountains out of molehills on a regular basis. (need some proof? try looking at my toddler sideways on a bad day, and you’ll get a tantrum worthy of an Oscar.) I think kids need to be taught how to filter, as much as they need to learn how to problem solve.
Can you imagine a show that would do that, though? Scene: Little Sally drops her cookie and comes wailing to her friend Joe. Joe looks at Sally, looks at the cookie, picks it up and eats it. “God made dirt, and dirt don’t hurt,” Joe says to Sally. “Problem” solved.