This guide to toddler TV has been written by a good friend of mine. She has a two year old and is currently incubating number two.
It was when my daughter was about a year old (and driving me nuts) that I first decided to make use of the electronic babysitter, the good old tellybox, and stick her in front of toddler TV. Looking back, I wish I’d spent every moment of the day giving her my complete focus and attention.
Nah, I don’t really. It worked wonders. No longer needing to constantly entertain a small child, I could now drink a hot drink, I could run to the loo for a wee, I could even sit without anyone touching me.
My daughter’s TV choices have of course been instigated by me, however she has very much formed her own opinions on what makes excellent viewing and I lament that I do not have the final say in what she chooses to watch (I mean I could… but it wouldn’t be worth the hassle). When one programme isn’t distracting her sufficiently for me to spend some quality time looking at cats on Instagram any more, I have to find the next alternative. Sadly she has the attention span typical of a toddler and thus I now feel well qualified to review a number of the finest Toddler TV programmes CBeebies and Nick Jr have to offer.
As is standard, my daughter started her TV watching career with Peppa. Short enough to hold her attention, nice and bright, the odd joke that made me chuckle. But Peppa, why do you only last for five minutes? A good kids TV programme should be at least twice that. Can’t even boil a kettle and make a decent brew in that time.
Also, Peppa is a bit of a pain in the arse, to put it mildly….to put it less mildly she’s an obnoxious bossy boots. Don’t even get me started on Suzy Sheep.
6/10 Should be longer and less irritating.
Ben and Holly’s Magical Kingdom
When Peppa was considered ‘so last year’, we had a brief flirtation with Ben and Holly. I was much happier about this, it was twice the length for a start, but there was no one in it who captured her heart in the same way as that bloody pig.
There is of course Gaston the ladybird, however I think she was frankly confused as to why he looked like a ladybird but talked like a dog. She moved on.
5/10 Such potential, just too highbrow for your average two year old.
“Take your finger, touch your nose, blink three times and wonder what the hell happened to your life”.
Mr Tumble was next. At first she loved him, whereas I was struck by sheer terror, petrified and unable to change channel. I had never experienced a fear of clowns until the day we found Mr Tumble. I couldn’t quite understand what was wrong with his voice, or why we were forced to look at his magic sack and what the hell is Aunt Polly all about?
I did however warm to him as the basic premise of the show is a lovely one and she started to pick up some of the sign language and would sing along to the songs.
8/10 A grower (not a shower? Thankfully).
Charlie and Lola
Her next choice was Charlie and Lola. This programme was to become a long term love of my daughter’s. She demands it at least once a day, this is demonstrated by her shouting “TARLIE WOWA TARLIE WOWA” at the top of her lungs seemingly at random. I too love TARLIE WOWA.
Charlie is such a caring big brother, Lola is funny and it is really nice to watch. The real star of the show for me is Lola’s best mate Lotta. She is incredibly ditsy and genuinely makes me laugh. I hope my daughter never grows tired of it.
9/10 Seek out the episode about Bert the Guinea Pig. It’s a masterpiece.
Another current favourite which I am very happy about is Hey Duggee. Again, it’s bright, genuinely funny and really engaging for toddler TV. There’s honestly nothing I could fault it for and in my current pregnant and hormonal state every time I see Happy the Crocodile with his adoptive Elephant Parent I well up a little. Although, it does strike me as a slightly unwise choice on the part of the adoption board. I don’t want to get too deeply into the nature vs nurture debate but that’s an accident waiting to happen.
And then there’s Bing Bunny.
I hate Bing Bunny.
Some viewers credit the programme for truly representing how a toddler behaves and talks (i.e. intensely annoying) but why on earth would you want to make parents sit through that?! I’ve got my own irritating toddler, why would I want to have to watch one on TV too? Seriously, how am I supposed to concentrate on Facebook when I’ve got Bing whinging in my ear?!
At first the mystery of “who the flip is Flop?” drove me insane but I have just learnt to accept that he is meant to be Bing’s carer. I still don’t get it but I have moved on.
The whole relationship is just grossly unrealistic; Flop is far too patient and understanding for it to be a real representation of life. “FLOOOOOP I’ve pissed myself again”. “FLOOOOOP I’ve just flushed a shoe down the toilet”. “FLOOOOOPP I’ve just murdered by entire family”… “Oh, that’s no big thing Bing”. I mean come on.
Every episode of Bing is the same.
Bing gets over excited/cross/tired and does something stupid. Flop says it’s no big thing and teaches him a wonderful moral lesson. Bing then rectifies the situation. God it’s just so pleasant it makes me sick.
And then there’s Bing’s mate Pando.
F*cking Pando. Wherever he goes he takes his trousers off and his carer, Padget, just calmly picks them up and carries on her way. As the parent of a child who hates clothes and regularly strips I assume Padget must be on Lithium.
1/10 Like having the most annoying, whingiest toddler you know round to play. Every day.
I’m really hoping she chooses to move on to Corrie next. I could definitely get on board with that.
I don’t watch Corrie, but I’d still pick it over Bing.
(Here endeth this fab run down of parent-friendly Toddler TV. What’s your favourite? I go with Mr Bloom since you asked.)