My kids don't really watch a lot of TV. (They much prefer to run around and play, like they're doing right now.) When they do watch TV, it's usually something like Little Einsteins, or the old-school cartoons like Tom & Jerry, Pink Panther, or The Smurfs.
But some time last year they discovered Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!, and (for some reason) fell in love with it. And it just happened to be on right before bedtime, so it became part of our nightly routine. There isn't a lot to it as far as educational value goes, but there are some good social lessons and some fun sing-along opportunities with the silly songs (which are, mercifully, easy enough to tune out.)
Not long after they started watching Wubbzy they also discovered Ni Hao, Kai-Lan, which was on right afterward, and it too became part of the nightly routine. Kai-Lan teaches about Chinese language and culture, and also tries to offer the social lessons.
But the problem with it is that it also - in just about every episode - shows the characters acting inappropriately before they learn the day's lesson. So rather than just having an episode about being a good friend, or about taking care of your toys, somebody is acting really mean, or breaking something, or otherwise just being a bad kid.
I still let the kids watch it, because they liked being exposed to another language, and because eventually each episode did get around to the lesson. And we would talk about what the characters had done, and reinforce that good kids should never act like that. But my husband and I would still remark now and then that we didn't really like the show, because of some of the examples that it was setting.
But yesterday we finally decided to pull the plug. It was growing increasingly obvious that the kids were both picking up bad habits from the way the characters on the show behave, and we decided that enough was enough. I wasn't sure how they would react, because it has been a part of their routine for so long, but I figured it was just something I 'd have to deal with.
So last night at dinner I broke the news. Of course, their first question was "Why?" I figured that honesty would work out the best, so I just explained that Mommy and Daddy didn't think it was a very good show, and we didn't like how naughty the kids were all the time. Then I braced for impact, waiting for the protest to start.
Amazingly, they both hardly thought about it at all before saying "Okay" and then starting a conversation about why it's important to be good, and how they don't want to be naughty or see other kids being naughty. And that was that. No protest. No complaining. And bedtime went on without any problems.
Regardless of how you feel about that show, or about our decision to not let the kids watch it any more, I think we can probably still agree that for a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old to react so calmly to having something taken away like that is pretty impressive.