Having a child usually means an end to your reign over the remote. Gone is The Wire and Breaking Bad, replaced by hideous saccaharin-sweet shows presented by kidlike adults with wide and gaping grins tattooed on their faces.
The pitch too changes to some unearthly high white noise, which somehow cocoons in your brain and transforms into an earworm – torturing you day to day as their too upbeat theme tune plays on repeat.
Thankfully, most of these terrifying new shows only last five minutes and sanity soon resumes as the end credits roll.
Unfortunately, fate would have it that these shows, including the likes of Peppa Pig and Bing, become a firm favourite with your tots and you are forced to watch nothing else for 12 hours straight until they collapse on the floor through sheer tiredness, while you cradle your knees and rock in the corner.
But it isn’t just the irritating factor that bothers me about the majority of kids TV offering, but the content itself.
Bing, for example, portrays a precocious man child, who spends the entire episode to no good until finally he gets told off, at around the point when your child has soaked up the bad behaviour and run off before Bing gets disciplined.
Others like Peppa Pig seem to teach kids that is fine to coat yourself in layers of mud provided you are wearing your wellies, as well as allowing young Peppa to mock and berate her dad for being fat with no consequence.
Finding something that keeps your child quiet while teaching the right kind of things is hard to come by.
In fact, there are just two that I can name off the top of my head that are an asset to my daughter’s education whilst not completely driving me up the wall.
Firstly, Blaze and The Monster machines. While at first glance it may look like a cheap knock off of Disney’s cars, it actually stands up as a good educational resource.
Since being forced to watch the Nickelodeon show after my husband helpfully bought a DVD from Home Bargains for £2.99, my daughter has taught me about the inner workings of her hair dryer, showed me how ‘acceleration’ works, and taught me about mass. Now, I don’t know about you but if a show manages to give my daughter knowledge and interest in science at a young age while giving me five minutes’ peace, it gets the seal of approval from me.
Likewise, BBC’s Let’s Get Squiggling: Letters is another go-to show which teaches while you grab a lukewarm cuppa.
Not only does it teach about phonics and letters, but it shows children how to write them in an easy and entertaining way. It holds their attention while at the same time showing how to print them properly. It would definitely be a benefit to school age kids as well as preschoolers.
While there are dozens of apps that help kids trace their letters, I really do think this show has been more useful for us in tackling cursive writing, plus there’s been no screentime meltdowns as a result.
Of course, that’s not to say that we don’t let her watch those God awful shows from time to time but usually when I’m hiding doing laundry so I can’t be exposed to its unrealistic, sickly sweet Outlook on life.