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Pediatrics published a study in 2011 pinning attention problems in children on everyone’s favorite cartoon character who lives in a pineapple under the sea: SpongeBob SquarePants. Researchers believe that the program causes an attention problem in many kids after just nine minutes of viewing. Lead author of the study, University of Virginia psychology professor Angeline Lillard, says SpongeBob shouldn’t be the only show chastised for its frenetic action and obnoxious noises, as she found similar problems in other children who watch fast-paced cartoons.
So what cartoons should your child be watching? Here are 19 that I think everyone in your household will be able to get behind. Not only are they calm and educational, but they also won’t make you fall asleep, either. (Sorry, Caillou.)
1. Berenstain Bears
The Berenstain Bears are a wholesome bear family, “a lot like people, only more so.” Sister and Brother Bear are in elementary school and learn lessons about things like being kind and responsible. The show can seem a little too goody-goody now and then, but it never gets annoyingly so.
2. Curious George
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: watching Curious George is like staring at a lava lamp — it soothes the tired parent’s soul. George is best for younger kids, since most of what the show focuses on are simple lessons like learning shapes, numbers, and colors. But honestly, I would watch it without my daughter. (#RealTalk I have.)
3․ Max and Ruby
Max and Ruby! As my 5-year-old put it, “It’s a nice little show about bunnies.” Each 30-minute episode centers on Max, a determined three-year-old bunny, and his big sister, Ruby, a smart, goal-oriented seven-year-old. Max and Ruby play together and resolve their differences respectfully. Great for dealing with sibling rivalry.
4․ Sid the Science Kid
Sid the Science Kid is not only filled with great songs that teach kids about things like decay, dirt and worms, the sun as energy source, and more, but it also has a segment called “Good Laughternoon” during which your kid will learn jokes like, “What kind of tree fits in your hand? A palm tree!” Sid’s buddy Gerald has kind of an obnoxious pace and voice, but other than that, I have no complaints about the show. Another very educational show that knocks it out of the park. Go public broadcasting!
5․ Daniel Tiger
Daniel Tiger will subtly take you back to the good old days of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. It’s actually produced by The Fred Rogers Company! The show features the children of the original cast of the show — so precious. This show is simply super cute and teaches children about enjoying their neighbors while simultaneously learning nice morals.
6․ Paw Patrol
Paw Patrol does an excellent job of introducing littles one to police, firemen, and more helpful community members. Honestly, what’s cuter than a puppy police officer? Probably nothing.
7․ Peppa Pig
Make way for Peppa Pig! Possibly the best part about this show? It’s only 5 minutes long. Peppa is a female pig who lives amongst her animal friends and teaches the kids about animal sounds and much more. With over 52 episodes in one season, you’re be begging for more Peppa.