"It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor. Would you be mine? Could you be mine? Won't you be my neighbor?"
At any given time during the day, 5 different Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood jingles are swimming around my head. To give some context, I have a 2.5 year-old daughter and it is the only show she really enjoys watching, so we watch it a lot in our house. But I think this show is brilliant, and I think it very strategically accomplishes a lot of really great things that is of value for children. Now, if you don't know about Daniel Tiger, it is an animated television show produced by Fred Rodger's Productions (that's right....THE Mr. Roger's), and is a spin-off of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood of Make-Believe. The show focuses on a lot of the same values, education, and emphasis on emotions that the original show did. As a mother and a psychologist, I love this show, and I LOVE that my daughter loves this show. I've said many times- I think a lot of adults would benefit from this show as well.
Here are my top 3 reasons why Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood is the show you and your kids should be watching:
1. The show gives language to a whole array of emotional experiences.
2. It prepares for, normalizes, and discusses common transitions that can be tough.
Something that Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood does often and well throughout the show is it's emphasis on preparing, normalizing, and discussing common transitions in life that can be tough, especially for little ones. A lot of parents struggle with how to approach these transitions with their kids in a way that is meaningful or developmentally appropriate for them, and Daniel Tiger allows parents a foot in the door by having episodes and jingles on different topics that can then lend to family discussions around those themes, The show has episodes that focus on basic every day things, such as the transition of getting up and starting the day and the transition of getting ready for bed, which can be difficult for some children. There is an episode about potty training ("When you have to go potty, stop and go right away."), getting a new sibling ("When a baby makes things different, find a way to make things fun."), grown-ups leaving and coming back ("Grown-ups come back to you. Grown-ups come back, they do. Grown-ups come back."), having to leave or stop doing something you're enjoying ("It's almost time to stop, so choose one more thing to do."), being sick and needing to rest ("When you're sick, rest is best, rest is best."), and friends playing with other friends ("Even when friends play with someone new, they will still be friends with you."). The show even tackled the delicate topic of death ("Ask questions about what happened. It might help.") in a way that is child-appropriate. What I love about these topics and their associated jingles is that it helps parents to have a developmentally-appropriate way to speak to their children about these transitions and difficult topics, and helps facilitate conversation around them.
3. It highlights different experiences, and focuses on core values and morals that I think everyone can get behind.
"We like different things and that's just fine. Just remember to be kind."
"You can change your hair or what you wear, but no matter what you do- You're still you."
"Before you take something away, stop and ask if it's okay."
"It's okay to make mistakes. Try to fix them and learn from them, too."
"Look for the helpers."
"Sharing with you is fun for me, too!"
"You can chose to be kind."
Through repetition in the episodes, these jingles help normalize and remind children of these values and again, give parents a concise and developmentally appropriate way to facilitate language around these themes.
There you have it- My 3 biggest reasons that I am a Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood fan. Even though we have watched every episode 100 times (or at least it feels that way!), I am always happy to keep watching it with my daughter, because I think it is excellent for her emotional development.