The other day we were driving in the car and my boys (ages three and five) started teaching me about wildflowers. “Mom, did you know…” (this is how a lot of their sentences start), “that Pink Lady Slippers are wildflowers?”. Uh, WHAT. Of course, I responded with, “You’re totally right! They are wildflowers!”, followed up by, “Where did you learn that?”. Since we haven’t been to school since March, I knew they didn’t learn that from school. And I’ve certainly never thought to teach them about wildflowers. “You know…! Nature Cat!”, they squealed.
Let me count the times I feel mom guilt in the course of one day. It’s about one million. Putting my kids in front of the TV while I work or get things done around the house used to be one of them. But the thing is, sometimes my kids just need to chill out in front of a screen.
And sometimes I just need some alone time.
Between Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney +, YouTube, etc, there are SO MANY shows your kids could be watching during the course of a day. But the beauty of it is that as adults, we get to choose what they are watching. To help eliminate some of the guilt I felt about what they were watching, I started to really pay attention to what I was turning on for them. If they were going to watch TV, I wanted it to be something without a lot of fighting/violence and shows that promoted inclusion, diversity, and education. Nowadays, this is really so easy to find! There are so many quality shows that my kids are obsessed with (beyond the classic Sesame Street and Daniel Tiger which they have grown out of).
This list is probably not new to a lot of you (especially if you have older kids), but I wanted to share some of our family’s favorite “guilt-free” TV shows that my kids watch and LOVE. This list could also come in handy for younger kids that might need to be entertained while your older ones are doing virtual school…
*Tip: If you download the free PBS Kids app on your TV, you can stream shows for free.
7 guilt-free TV shows for kids
- Nature Cat (PBS)
What I love about it: I have two boys obsessed with animals, so this is one of their favorite shows. I love it because it’s funny and is voiced by a lot of SNL alum that I like (Bobby Moynihan, Kate McKinnon, and Kenan Thompson). It’s also taught my kids funny expressions. The other day my five-year-old said, “Boy oh boy, my feet are barking!” LOL.
What I love about it: To say that my kids are obsessed with Wild Kratts is an understatement. The show is about two brothers and their team of friends who are all about learning about nature and animals and trying to protect them. There are bad guys to protect the animals from (super harmless bad guys), superpowers, and a TON of animal facts.
What I love about it: Dinosaurs + trains. What could be better? I love that this show teaches my kids about dinosaurs so I don’t have to 😊
What I love about it: There are so many things to love about Pete the Cat. It has fantastic music for starters. Elvis Costello, Diana Krall, Dave Matthews, and Jason Mraz have all voiced characters and performed songs for the show. PLUS, the show features gay parents (yes!) and teaches a ton of great life lessons.
What I love about it: The series follows a 10-year-old girl named Molly who is an Alaskan Native. I’m trying really hard to get more diversity into the content my kids are consuming, and this is a really fun and easy way to show my kids a different culture. This is another nature-focused show that my kids learn a lot from. Plus, it won a Peabody Award this year!
What I love about it: Um hello, female scientist as the host! And female scientist that is nine months pregnant? (insert praise hand emoji here!) Plus, each episode concludes with a science experiment you can do at home. The episodes are quick (not necessarily my favorite part, haha), but jam-packed with STEAM learning, which I love.
What I love about it: This is a new one from PBS that has a really diverse group of kids as the main characters. Along with their teacher, they learn how to work together and use their “Superpowers of Science” to solve problems.
Oh and PS: My kids have tablets, but the only thing they have access to on them is the PBS Kids Games app. I rarely feel guilty about the time that they are on their iPads either because I know exactly what they are doing: playing educational games that they love! They have zero clue that they are learning while they are playing.