You Can Learn A Lot From a Cartoon Dog

When it comes to children’s television programming, I’ve never really been well-versed. I started this mom game in 2013. The first several years, it was me and a baby happily watching The Office and Friends reruns on Netflix (when they were still on there). When my oldest kiddo turned three and started to repeat words, it was time to change what we watched (having your toddler say, “That’s what she said” at grandma’s house is a clear indicator its time to switch it up). 

First came Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, followed quickly by Thomas the Train, and Shimmer and Shine. We didn’t really branch out much because if it wasn’t on PBS or Netflix, we weren’t watching it. Then came Disney+ and we were shown a whole new world! (See what I did there?)

My kids just recently got into Bluey–a show about the Heeler family: four blue heelers that live in Australia. There’s “Mum”, Dad, Bingo (the younger sister), and Bluey (the older sister). The show follows the Heelers through their daily lives: going to school, running errands, and spending time at the pool. On its surface, it doesn’t seem like a show that parents will really get anything out of.

There’s no song that sums up the value they’re trying to teach, a la Daniel Tiger. But each episode carries some great lessons for parents and kids. I’ve watched every episode and I have to say that I have taken so much from those cartoon dogs that has helped me parent.

Here’s what I’ve learned from the Heelers: 

  1. Have fun with your kids. In just about every episode, the parents are engaging with their kids and helping their daughters explore their imaginations and creativity. 
  2. You do not have to entertain your kids 24/7. I often feel like if I’m not engaged with my kids all day, I’ve failed. Which is ridiculous, I know! Kids need to be able to play independently and boundaries are good. Oftentimes, Mum and Dad Heeler are doing chores or cooking, or even *gasp* drinking coffee alone while the girls play.
  3. Don’t compare yourself to other moms/your kids to other kids. Its so easy to fall into the pit of comparison. Moms especially tend to compare their own mothering to others and think that they’re somehow failing if they’re not living up to someone else’s standard. Watch the episode titled “Baby Race” and you’ll see. Just keep the tissues handy. 
  4. Love your spouse in front of your kids. Growing up, my parents were always showing affection to one another. My sisters and I may have pretended to gag or say, “Ew!” really loudly, but deep down it made us feel secure because we could see that our parents loved each other. Mum and Dad Heeler show affection and talk about their love in front of their girls and I love seeing that on screen! 
  5. Talk about your feelings and emotions. If ever there was a time in our lives when we needed to talk about our feelings/emotions its NOW. The “pandemic years” have been hard on us all and we as parents need to be able to help our children work through their feelings and emotions. The Heeler parents are great at helping the girls work through their feelings while also helping them to cope with their circumstances. 

It may sound silly, but these cartoon dogs have really helped me see and think about parenting in a whole new way! Have you ever felt inspired from a kid’s show? What did you learn? Do you have any recommendations for other moms? 

 

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Jessica is a SAHM who works part-time during the school year for her church's MDO program. She's married to her preschool sweetheart (you read that right!) and has two kids, Hermione (4) and Indiana (2). She has a BA in Journalism from UCO and worked for five years as a ghostwriter for a publishing company. In her "free time", Jessica loves to run, watch sci-fi, and write for her personal blog: TheHuffmanPost.com!

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