What Do You Watch With Your Kids?

By Veronica

We do not have a television. We did not have high-minded reasons for pitching the tv. We did it for one reason only: whenever I have a tv, I watch garbage. For hours. Afterwards, I can not even tell you what I  saw.

Now we entertain ourselves with the internet. Whether it’s blogging or reading or watching videos on Hulu or YouTube, the internet forces me to be much more deliberate about my choices. I cannot get sucked into a six-hour Gilligan’s Island marathon on the internet.

Not yet, anyway.

But not having a television does not exempt me from the curse of children’s entertainment. We let our kids watch videos. During the exhaustion of my third pregnancy, I let my oldest girl watch so much  Angelina Ballerina that she actually started saying some words in Angelina’s insufferable accent. And my two-year-old would, if we allowed her, happily watch Boo! every hour of every day.

Meanwhile, the shows I love – currently Chuck, Life, Bones, Burn Notice and Battlestar Galactica – are relegated to the hours when the children are asleep, the dishes are washed, and I am awake enough to sit up for awhile.

Guess how often that happens.

If I want to watch something for a few minutes while the kids are awake, the choices are few. So imagine my delight a few weeks ago, when I discovered Rhett and Link, two internet comics who have been working for a little over a year. I stumbled upon their videos, and I was hooked. Their songs and sketches have that quality, rare as a full night’s sleep: they are written for adults, but also safe for children.

My children now love Rhett and Link. I love Rhett and Link. Even Az the Husband, a taciturn grizzly bear in matters of comedy, loves Rhett and Link. My children sing their songs. I sing their songs. Az does not sing their songs, but Az only sings if there is a choir around him and sheet music by Bach or Tallis in front of him.

Rhett and Link have a website and a channel on YouTube. My favorites so far are Maine Man, The BBQ Song, Guacamole, Middle-School Girlfriend, The Facebook Song and this little confession. Occasionally they indulge in some gross, 3rd-grade boy humor that makes me squeamish, but probably appeals to boys. Possibly more than you’d like.

Now that I’ve found them, I am wondering how much other great stuff I might be missing. Do you have some wonderful grown-up entertainment that you can unashamedly watch in front of your kids? I want suggestions. Give me the details in the comments.

Since Veronica has no tv to fall asleep in front of, you can find her blogging at Toddled Dredge.

7 Responses to What Do You Watch With Your Kids?
  1. Julie
    February 24, 2009 | 9:13 am

    My husband grew up without a TV. I think his parents were right on track! I think I could do without one, but I’m not sure my husband would agree! We don’t have the TV on all the time but we do watch it daily. I limit the kids TV – 99% of what they watch is on Noggin – I feel safe with them watching that. My husband and I agreed that we will not allow them to have video games though. They are too young to have them now anway, but we see other kids ZONE OUT for hours in front of an XBOX or Wii and we just can’t stand that. When my 4 year old son enters a house where a kid is playing a video game, he drops everything and zones into the action. I have trouble tuning him in to me after that. So – no video games for us and about 1 hour of TV for my kids per day (unless someone has a tummy bug and then the TV is on for hours and hours and hours…..) I think what you are doing is one of the BEST things you can do for your family. We may not get rid of our TV, but I can manage our TV time better! Thanks for the post! Julie

  2. Beck
    February 24, 2009 | 10:20 am

    My kids LOVE this site to a worrisome extent:
    Which meant that my then five year old son wanted to be August Strindberg for Halloween one year. Wouldn’t that have been disconcerting?
    They also do the Helium voice ALL THE TIME, which maybe is a cautionary tale about letting your kids watch it at all.
    Have you checked out nickjr.com? It has lots of little show clips and some nice crafts and games, too.

    Our current FAVORITE kids shows:
    Martha Speaks (HILARIOUS! Sweet! And nicely vocabulary-enhancing, too.)
    Word Girl
    and always, always Arthur.

  3. Kelly
    February 24, 2009 | 1:12 pm

    No big secrets here. We are big fans of Noggin and PBS Kids. The shows are cute and creative, and both channels are commercial-free.

    That said, my kids do enjoy the website UptoTen. It has some fun books that run like videos. (Although I do have to watch them when they cruise around on the website. I think it’s produced in France, and it’s common for me to find them watching a whole book en Francais.)

  4. Candace
    February 24, 2009 | 2:57 pm

    We limit the tv as well. My son watches Curious George(he loves monkeys) and Martha Speaks. I nix anything that encourages him to mispronounce words. We never baby talk with him because of this our peds swears to this day that is why his vocab is often well ahead of most kids his age.

  5. All Rileyed Up
    February 25, 2009 | 12:19 am

    I also have no TV because I found myself watching 90210 marathons for no good reason except to laugh at Tori Spelling’s outfits. And my husband is even worse than me when it comes to garbage watching on the television, though, thankfully, neither of us ever got into reality TV.

    My daughter loves Angelina too, but hasn’t gotten to the point where she’s speaking in accent. She does do a lot of ballet around the house though.

    As to YouTube, I’ll have to check out Rhett and Link. I wish I had a good suggestion for you on kid and adult friendly matter. I find the old Muppet Show TV series (you can rent them on DVD) is fun for adults and children. Might give that a try?

  6. Stephanie's Mommy Brain
    February 26, 2009 | 10:54 pm

    We don’t have a tv either for some of the same reasons. The adjustment was hard and to be completely honest I have times when I wish I had a tv I could plop my kids in front of just for an hour of peace and quiet. But over all I’m glad we don’t. I don’t watch much on my computer but my hubby does. He’s a big fan of Hulu. Did you know that had Karate Kid on there recently? “Wake on. Wake off.” 🙂

  7. Para Ma
    April 14, 2012 | 7:00 pm


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