Catchy tunes. Life lessons. Family and friends. A little tiger in a red sweater. Yes, I am talking about the lovable Daniel Tiger. Now, if you’ve never seen Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and have a preschool age kid, you need to do so! It is on PBS and was created from the same lessons and feelings of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. It teaches sweet lessons to our kids with no other motive than to help them be good humans. However, I never expected how often I would incorporate it into my parenting, or what that little tiger would teach me.
“When you feel so mad that you want to roar, take a deep breath and count to four.”
Okay, hear me out; at first, this one sounded silly. But after hearing it 50 times, it stuck in my head and I started using it with my daughter. It would “sing along” in my head when I started to get frustrated. Yelling at my kids is something I feel like I need to work on. I almost always regret it afterwards and wish I had tried something else. Plus, what better example than to show my daughter that I am also using this technique?
“Everyone is big enough, big enough to do something.”
This is one of Daniel’s lessons about being a “big helper.” It is a great reminder that everyone is able to help out, even our little kids. Typically, I fold laundry after my daughters have gone to bed, so I don’t get anxious about if they folded it the “wrong way”. But now, I will frequently try to fold laundry with them. They love being “big helpers” and feel so accomplished afterwards. My youngest is 18 months old, and she has even started being the one that gets all our plates ready for meals. She may be little, but she can reach most items from the dishwasher or will ask for help. She is a great example of being big enough to be a big helper.
“Try a new food, it might taste good.”
Wow, Daniel Tiger has helped us with our daughter’s picky eating! If it wasn’t typical “kid food” or fruit, she wanted nothing to do with it. However, we started following the Tiger Family policy; she has to at least try the food. After two whole bites, if she genuinely doesn’t like it, then she can just eat the veggies and fruit offered instead. Some days we still have to fight her to try the food on her plate, but usually, singing this little tune will help.
“Grown-ups come back.”
This is one of our top five favorite lessons from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. In this episode Daniel gets dropped off at school but he wants to stay with his dad. Daniel and another character reassure each other that their parents will be back for them. Seriously, this little tune has helped us so many times! It helped when my daughter started preschool, and it helps when my husband and I have a date night. On one of our recent dates, both girls were screaming and crying as we left. Evidently after we left, my oldest daughter, in between tears kept hugging her baby sister and telling that grown-ups come back, we would return, and that her big sister was still there. Even though she was sad, she stepped up as a big helper to reassure her sister.
“I like you just the way you are.”
This is just proof of the genuinely sweet lessons Daniel Tiger teaches his “neighbors.” In this episode Daniel and his friends learn about how they are each special, and how they like each other just the way they are. My daughter repeats this line and it absolutely melts my heart. When we are going through our bedtime routine and we tell her “I love you”, she responds by saying “Mommy, I love you just the way you are.” No matter how our day has been, she reminds me that I am enough. It may not have been the intention of that lesson, but it has been one of the sweetest things my daughter has told me. It is a perfect saying to tell her frequently as well.
So, if you’re looking for assistance with potty training, picky eating, separation anxiety, anger management, and sharing, let Daniel Tiger help you out. This is a show you can put your kid in front of and not really worry about what it may be teaching them. It may surprise you– you may start incorporating some of their songs into your everyday parenting too.
Thank you, Daniel Tiger.
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