With all the options for screen time out there today, parents are finding it more and more important to make sure the shows their kids watch are worth the time spent.
Here is a list of shows, categorized by age group, that parents can feel good about letting their kids watch, and others that maybe should be avoided.
"Mickey Mouse Clubhouse," which airs on the Disney Junior channel, follows the classic mouse friend and his pals as they go on adventures, teaching problem-solving and early mathematic skills. With songs and repetition, toddlers love this show.
Fans of Fred Rogers and his show "Mister Roger’s Neighborhood" will love the revamped cartoon version of "Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood." Airing on PBS Kids, it has the same format as the beloved classic and teaches about emotions, family and friends, and they even take field trips to find out how things are made or how things work.
The Nickelodeon show "Team Umizoomi" is a fun show for toddlers that teaches counting, patterns, colors, shapes and other early mathematical skills through problem-solving adventures and songs.
"The Wild Kratts," which airs on PBS, is a cartoon starring the animated counterparts of real-life zoologists Chris and Martin Kratt. The show teaches about wild animals and their habitats and even environmental protection awareness. The Kratts teach with a heavy dose of humor that kids really enjoy.
In another PBS revamp, "The Electric Company" has turned its 1970’s classic into something new for today’s grade-schoolers. Each episode has a mystery to solve and the viewer learns phonics, grammar and language rules through fun plots, songs and dances.
Airing on the Disney Channel, kids love "Phineas and Ferb" for the grand ideas the two execute in every episode, and the crazy sister who can never get her parents to catch on. While some may be wary of the boy craziness of a few of the characters, overall this is a clean, funny show that spans the age groups.
Discovery Channel’s "How It’s Made" is a hit with kids and parents alike as it teaches kids how things are made. Kids will find it interesting seeing everyday items go from idea conception to the way they see it in their daily lives.
Another Discovery Channel hit with this age group is "MythBusters." While this show contains multiple disclaimers because there are explosions and other volatile situations which are not safe for kids to duplicate at home, this series showcases problem analysis and the scientific approach to proving or disproving a thesis.
Fox Network’s "MasterChef Junior" is a good reality show for this age group, as it shows a competitive environment with the kids being respectable and polite to the judges. It also may inspire kids to learn how to cook at home and adapt healthy eating habits.
This age group is tricky, as a lot of the shows today may inspire changes in behavior and attitude toward parents. As with every show, parental supervision is recommended to monitor what your children get out of the shows they are watching.
Disney Channel’s popular show "Good Luck Charlie" is a hit among teenagers because of the funny storylines and the antics involved in the daily life of a large family. It teaches lessons about getting along with family and friends, and other teen issues.
Another Disney show popular with teenagers today is "Austin and Ally." With a storyline involving music and a lot of silly gags and quirky characters, teenagers and parents will like this clean show. While there is an obvious absence of any parental supervision in the show, it is still a wholesome choice for this age group.
Shows to avoid due to having no educational value, annoying characters, sexual content, bad examples, unrealistic expectations for your kids: "Spongebob Squarepants," "The Fairly Oddparents," "Adventure Time," "The Simpsons," "Family Guy," "iCarly," "Pretty Little Liars," "Glee," "Skins."
Tara Creel is a mother of three boys. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org, and she blogs at taracreelbooks.wordpress.com.