Screen Time: 6 Shows to Watch With Your Kids

kids watching tv

Ready for a mom confession?

Deep breath: I-love-watching-TV-and-movies-with-my-kids.


I know, maybe not gonna win me a mom of the year trophy.  In my defense, during the school year they aren’t allowed to watch during the week (unless it’s a football game, GO NINERS!).  To make up for it, I watch Austin & Ally with them every Friday night followed by a movie of my their choosing.  We spend Saturday evening, following a day full of games, relaxing on the couch and watching Duck Dynasty together as a family.  It’s sort of our thing.

…I’d have midday nightmares of brightly colored cheerleaders holding me hostage in Umi City while singing that song repeatedly until I clawed my own ears off.  It was intense.

But, finding kid-friendly TV that doesn’t melt your grown up brain right out of your skull is tough. 

For example, I love The Regular Show and Adventure Time.  So, so funny.  Not really for small people though (my middle schooler watches it with me).

My little guy, he used to be a fan of those Team Umizoomi characters.  I couldn’t stay awake past the theme song to save my life.  And then, I’d have midday nightmares of brightly colored cheerleaders holding me hostage in Umi City while singing that song repeatedly until I clawed my own ears off.  It was intense.

But there are plenty of shows and movies we can watch together that don’t make me want to drown myself in the sink.  Here are a few of our faves…

Making the Most of Your Screen Time: 6 Things to Watch Together as a Family

Image via Wikipedia
Image via Wikipedia

America’s Funniest Home Videos.  Laughs for days.  And yes, it still comes on, it still has basically the same format – funny videos submitted by really unlucky people, and it still looks like 1997.  But, that’s what makes it great!

Image via Kids Birthday Parties
Image via Flickr/Kids Birthday Parties

Max and Ruby.  I actually love this show.  It is geared towards the preschool aged child, but my kindergartner is still down with it too.  I pick bossy boots Ruby over slow talking Dora any day of the week.


Image via Wikipedia
Image via Wikipedia

Looney Tunes.  We’re huge fans of classic cartoons around here.  I’m not even going to pretend that they are always age appropriate (old Mickey Mouse was a total jerk and original Bugs smoked like a chimney), but they do provide for tons of teaching moments.  Like why you can’t smoke, or make fun of people, or light the dog on fire.  Good stuff there, friends.  Also, you should hear my five year old’s impression of Foghorn Leghorn; it’s sort of amazing.

back to the future
Image via Flickr/renatodantasc

80s movies.  The list of ones to love is extensive.  Harry and the Hendersons, Back to the Future, the original Karate Kid, and Big should get you started.  Check out this list of 80s movies kids love for more titles we’ve sampled.  Not super good picks: Benji and Gremlins.  Those were pretty intense for my younguns.

Image via Flickr/lorenjavier
Image via Flickr/lorenjavier

Handy Manny.  For some reason he has always been way more palatable than Diego.  Maybe it’s because I like a man in a tool belt, especially when he has Wilmer Valderrama’s voice.  Maybe it’s because Diego is related to Dora.  Either way, Handy Manny is cooler, the show plots are more fun, there’s not as much dead silence and awkward blinking, plus the theme song is bangin’.

nature television shows
Image via Flickr/lwpkommunikacio

Anything related to nature.  The documentary type shows are just so engaging and educational.  Be prepared to talk about birth though, it comes up A LOT in those shows.

MORE: Tips for a Successful Movie Outing with Your Preschooler }


What shows do you enjoy watching with your kids? Do you limit screen time? 

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Screen Time: 6 Shows to Watch With Your Kids

Amanda has been wowing the Internet since 2008 when she launched her pretty-much-useless guide for parents, parenting BY dummies. As it turns out, her parenting advice is not generally useful for more than a good laugh, but sometimes that’s exactly what you need! Amanda spends her offline time (which is embarrassingly limited) running a photography business, working as a social media director for a local magazine, writing freelance articles about stuff she loves, wrangling her 3 little Dudes ... More

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  1. Watching Duck Dynasty marathons are kind of our family’s thing, too — by far our first pick; and American Pickers, Pawn Stars, and Martha Speaks come in at a close second 🙂 As for movies — Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Ponyo are a win every time.

  2. sayhola says:

    Yeah, I’m not “sold” on Max and Ruby either… she seems so bossy and he seems to “meddle” an awful lot… I need to watch more carefully before I make a final decision, but so far, not my fave… Team Umizoomi on the other hand, we all love – especially the toddler! I kind of like their songs and predictable format. Just wish there was a greater variety of them and less reruns. And for a kid who is just 2.5, I’m not really into the Looney Tunes due to the (gasp) violence… TNT and such – the roadrunner and coyote always fighting. Maybe when he’s a little older.

  3. Max and Ruby?!?! Really? That one ranks on my list of “oh-please-don’t-ever-make-me-watch-this-again” – right at the top.
    Now Backyardigans. Phineas and Ferb. Scooby Doo. Those I am down with. 🙂


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