Can we just say it? When you have a toddler, Daniel Tiger is the best parenting tool in your belt. I’m not kidding, I’m not exaggerating. Daniel Tiger makes us all better parents.
Honestly this is 100% of the reason I started putting it on for my kids. In case you didn’t know it: It’s a spin-off of Mister Roger’s Neighborhood. Do you remember the puppets? How about the trolley that took Mister Rogers to the Neighborhood of Make Believe? Daniel Tiger was actually a puppet in Mister Rogers’ show. The other characters in Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood are mostly like, 2nd gen. Just like our kids are second generation fans of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. Which makes me ecstatic.
Daniel Tiger even takes his shoes off at the end of each episode like Mister Rogers does at the beginning. It’s wonderful. It makes me so happy to make these little connections.
It’s so similar, I had to Google “Mister Roger’s Theme Song” to try to remember it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood. I mean… It’s forever ingrained into my head, that song… and I had to google it. Because Daniel Tiger is like… re-writing the code in my head.
Some characters from the original you may remember: King Friday (my favorite) has a son, Prince Wednesday. Lady Elaine has a daughter, Miss Elaina. X the Owl’s son is O the Owl. Henrietta Pussycat (who totally sounds like a Bond girl) has a daughter named Katerina Kittycat. (Presumably because we’re all more preverted now and making “Pussycat” dirty is just too tempting.) Anyways, see below for a good dose of “OMG I remember that!”
There’s a song for everything.
Every day-to-day issue a toddler has is made into a song. (No, there’s no song for “Stop wiping your boogers on the wall, you sick little shit” but that’s not an everyday thing. Unless you’re me.) But potty training? Yup. Sharing. Scared of the Dark. Getting frustrated. Throwing tantrums. Separation Anxiety. Coping with No. Independent Problem Solving. Getting a little sibling. Sharing parent time with sibling.
I have a friend who’s son is autistic and the “Give a squeeze, nice and slow” helped him so much when he just couldn’t get the words from his brain out of his mouth. Singing helps soothe babies and toddlers so much, as I’m sure you already know. But for autistic kids, sometimes it’s the absolute biggest help.
To my youngest, I sing “Goodnight, Daniel, Goodnight” when I rock her before bedtime. I sing the potty song to my middle child daily. I still sing to my oldest, too but she rolls her eyes and gives me the finger. Turns out “Take a step back and ask for help” evolves into “Take a step back and say f@ck you, Mom.” (Slight exaggerations for humor. Slight.)
If you want an entire list of songs to download, here. Or just tell Alexa to play “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood”… most are free with Prime music. Or it’s on Netflix. And Amazon. And Hulu. It’s on PBS, so that’s free TV, too. Or, hell, there’s even a YouTube Channel. If you were on a deserted island, I assume there’d be some coconuts clomping out the melody to “Won’t you ride along with me? Ride aloooong!”
It’s on PBS
So if you accidentally leave the TV on all day… It’s fine. No one is going to accidentally watch something absurd like Spongebob Squarepants. Every kid show on PBS is gold, in my opinion, but even if you don’t like them all like my kids and I do, at least you don’t have to worry about what’s coming on. Worst case scenario everyone ignores it and it becomes background noise. Best case scenario is they actually learn something from one of the educational shows. And, if you’re like me, just assume somewhere in the middle: They don’t learn much but they subliminally gain some foundation-type knowledge that they’ll build on in school.
And by watching this show, this is the kind of man who’s legacy you’re helping.