Published on June 20th, 2013 | by Tom0
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Review
Don’t worry…this isn’t going to be about how kids shouldn’t even be in the same room as a TV until they’re 22, or that exposing your child to TV is tantamount to abuse. I don’t see any harm in letting your kids watch a reasonable amount of age appropriate TV, so long as limits are set the by parents.
Tom steps down from his soapbox.
One television program that jumps out at me as being both entertaining and informative is a new show on PBS called Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. The show’s main character is of course, Daniel Tiger, the son of the tiger who was featured on the original Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. This is no coincidence as the series is co-produced by The Fred Rogers Company. Each episode involves Daniel and other characters (some old and some new) from the Land of Make-Believe confronting a real life problem which the average toddler/preschooler might encounter. These problems range from dealing with anger and frustration, going to the doctor or the apprehension of having to use the potty away from home. This last issue is one that even some adults struggle with…or so I’m told.
Each 22 minute episode is broken down into two 11 minute segments punctuated by live action segments similar to Sesame Street shorts. The problems and subsequent solutions are presented in two very different ways in each segment and are reinforced with a simple song or jingle that is easy to remember. My son’s favorite episode features Daniel cleaning up his room in one segment and cleaning up a local park in the other. To this day, I can still convince my son to pitch in and clean up his toys if I remind him that Daniel Tiger always remembers to “Clean up, pick up, put away…clean up, every day!” The one downside of these catchy songs is that I find myself singing them in work meetings, which often leads to some odd looks from co-workers.
As my son enters his “terrible twos”, it’s becoming more apparent to me that his tantrums are often caused by either his lack of communication skills (i.e., he can’t communicate how he’s feeling or what he wants) or his lack of understanding of his own feelings (i.e., he’s mad or frustrated and he doesn’t know how to express that or what do about it). The writers and producers of the show seem to understand this at a fundamental level, just like Mister Rogers. He always seemed to know what we were feeling and what we needed to hear to feel better and understand our own feelings.
Even though Fred Rogers is no longer with us his spirit lives on and can be shared with a new generation of children through this show.
The world can seem like a scary and uncertain place to someone who’s only been in it for a few years. It’s nice to know that we still have a friend and neighbor looking out for us.