A Few Good Role Models – From Disney?

As summer break moves right along I have to admit that I have been turning to the TV to occupy the kids here and there while I try and get some work done during the week (no one said working from home was simple). And as it turns of all the networks that have “summer programming” the Disney channel is the one that the kids have continued to tune into time and time again. At first I was hesitant at the crop of shows aimed at tweens that my kids were tuning into. Especially being that my son is eight and my daughter is six. I’ve seen shows aimed at tweens before that aren’t exactly the kind of thing I want my kids watching. But I have to admit, now that I’ve sat down and watched some of these shows with my kids I’ve been pleasantly surprised.

A few of the shows we’ve watched have been Shake It Up, Good Luck Charlie and A.N.T Farm, which all air daily (reruns and new episodes) during the week. And I have found that while they are not my first choice of a TV show they aren’t so bad. Here are a few of the things that have me pleasantly surprised by these shows and OK with my kids watching them for a half hour.

  1. Girls! – The above shows are the cornerstone of the summer programming and all have female leads. Not just female leads, but funny, smart, silly, nice girls who all act and dress their age. That includes the girls of Shake It Up, who are dancers on a dance show (think Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, AFTER the movie, LOL) and still manage to dress fashionably, yet appropriately. And aside from an occasional crush here and there, these girls are not boy crazy.
  2. Smart is Cool – The girls on these shows are all smart girls who make good grades and school a priority, yet they are all cool. In fact the show Ant Farm, centers on the “ANT” program for gifted youngsters who have skipped a few grades including our lead character. And with A.N.T. Farm it’s also great to see a super smart African American girl back on the Disney channel! It’s about time.
  3. Smart Parents – Another thing I like about these shows are the parents. While they can be a little silly or zany at times (this is sitcom TV after all) the parents are always one step ahead of the kids and anytime the kids are up to something they shouldn’t be (which is usually nothing too serious) the parents catch them. Kids need to see smart parents, not dumb ones who let them get away with anything. Bonus points for strong moms, both married and single. In the crop of parents here you’ll find policewomen, nurses, children’s party entertainers and homemakers.
  4. Good Language and No Sex – It’s so nice to let my kids watch a tween show that doesn’t have kids mouthing off to parents and teachers, or using borderline disrespectful language with their friends. You’ll find NOTHING questionable in the way any of these kids talk to each other or their parents. And also, aside from an occasional crush type storyline involving a little flirting, there is nothing in any of these shows of a sexual nature.
  5. Positive MessagesAll the way around these shows offer good role models that are working hard at school and pursuing their dreams. The families depicted in these shows (especially Good Luck Charlie) shows families splitting up household duties and responsibilities regardless of gender.

All in all I’m impressed with this new crop of programming and am hoping, as my kids get older, these kinds of shows continue to make their way onto the airwaves. What shows currently on the air do you think offer good role models and messages for our kids?

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