When I was a new mom, I found the idea of television for my darling son to be beneath me. He wouldn’t be poisoned by the need for constant entertainment.

So yeah. I need breaks from being an amazing mom, so adequate works for me.

Here’s a list in no order with a few recommendations for your PreK and lower set. They represent the cross section of what my kiddo likes, and what I can feel good about him watching.

  1. Meet the Sight Words – This is a great find from another adequate mom. As educational programs go, this is surprisingly effective in holding the attention of my high energy kiddo. This is quiet enough, with slower images and lots of repetition. Guilt free, I assure you. There’s even a book series to go along with it. On YouTube or DVD (probably at your neighborhood library).
  2. Dinosaur Train – It’s a cute show with time traveling dinosaurs. There are a lot of dinosaur facts, vocabulary, and questionable space time theory. We like it. On PBS Kids, or Amazon.
  3. Chuggington – Train programs are aces in this house. With that, Thomas is banned in this house. While the IP is fun, the lessons are horrible. For example, if you aren’t useful, you are punished by being bricked up inside a tunnel to watch the world go by until the end of time. No joke. Chuggington is a kinder, brighter train program. There are kid trainees who learn to be adult trains, while being allowed to make mistakes. On Netflix, and YouTube.
  4. She-Ra – There was a lot of talk in my circle about the new She-Ra on Netflix. My son watched it, and found it tolerable. Then, he saw the old one (also on Netflix). He loved it. There are no love triangles, cocky and confident heroes, and no suffering for the bad guys. Like her brother He-Man’s show, the baddies are tossed to the side with a message of “I hope you learned your lesson,” with some major finger wagging. Not much violence outside of that.
  5. Mister Rogers’s Neighborhood – It’s an old one from my childhood that doesn’t stop being lovely and quiet. Mr. Rogers continues to be a wonderful influence on the preschool set. There are no loud noises, or fast moving images, and there doesn’t have to be. On Amazon and PBS Kids.
  6. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood – It’s like Mr. Rogers, but with more merchandising, brighter colors, a modern aesthetic, and a relatable family. The kids are sweet and flawed, lessons are relevant, and the story is told in 2 iterations. The parents are irritating in their perfection, but whatever. I know I will never be as great as Daniel’s mom, but she’s make believe, so there. On Amazon and PBS Kids
  7. Pororo – This one is for the slightly younger set. It’s a Korean import, so the sensibilities are a little different. They actually fart and take potty breaks, and get really mad at each other. It’s about a bunch of kid animals who play, live, and have adventures. It is exciting at a slower pace than Lego programs, but it’s very good at maintaining interest. On Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube.
  8. Avatar: The Last Airbender – This is a show that my husband and I adore. It’s about a kid named Ang who is destined to save the world. It’s a little exciting, so parents are required to be on hand for hiding and handholding. Buy this on Blu-ray to save the download money.

Other shows that the kiddo likes but I find intolerably annoying: Fireman Sam, Robocar Poli, Car Patrol, and Super Wings.