Sunday, April 19, 2015

Using fictional characters to help with parenting

“This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Weave Made Media® and DreamWorks, but all my opinions are my own. #weavemade #VeggieTalesfun 

As parents we all strive for the same goal with our children - to raise healthy, smart people who get along well with others. A big part of that is the role of the parent and what we model for our kids; which comes from our backgrounds, education and experiences.

I stay at home with my girls and I've fully embraced that I need to learn along with my kids sometimes. Typically I trust my my gut feeling on how to approach a situations or how to model an experience. But I also don't have a whole lot of experience in working with children outside of my own, so I am always on the lookout for great resources to help me.

An example;

Last week, Penny, now 3, was in a full blown toddler tornado of excitement. It was Wednesday and every week we go to our library for toddler story time. We've been going for a couple years and her cousin Jett and auntie come along too. We've developed friendships with other regulars too, so it's just a huge play date full of reading, dancing, singing and fun. There's a mix of quiet listening to the book being read out loud with wiggle breaks. On this particular morning Penny was buzzing around and just not in the mood to sit to listen to the story.

This is totally normal toddler behavior, but I couldn't help but feel a little anxious. Was she disruptive enough that I should pull her aside, or just go with the flow and let her get the wiggles out. Every other parent there had gone through what I was, so I wasn't feeling like I was a "problem parent." Nonetheless, we also want to be respectful of others. So after I decided that Penny's energy wasn't going to be spent anytime soon, I quietly pulled her aside, held her close and reminded her about the episode on Daniel Tiger that we had watched not too long ago:

Give a squeeze, nice and slow, take a deep breath...and let it go.

Cute, catchy songs seem to be what resonate with Penny at the moment. It was easy to pull out the song to help calm her down at the library, and it worked after a couple times. She loosened up and brought it down a notch.  And that's our life these days. Because she doesn't always listen to what mama thinks she should do or say, but somehow her "friends" (characters in books and tv shows) can. Various princesses, Daniel Tiger, the siblings of Dinosaur Train and the cornucopia of produce from VeggieTales is what guides so many of our practical lessons in this season of life. And let me tell you, these characters were carefully weeded out after the trial and error of that certain monkey and whiny 4 year old that I am 100% convinced teach my toddler all those behaviors that I have been trying to avoid!

VeggieTales is another great show that I've been excited to have her grow into. I've been familiar with the characters and songs from the time that my now 8 year old niece was a little girl, so I've had my fair share of Larry and and Bob. My sister-in-law sends me periodic texts about her "Usta!" which is the Polish word for lips. We used to sing that song to little Pammy all the time.

While "I love my lips" doesn't really teach any deep lessons, (it's just hilarious) VeggieTales is a wonderful faith based show that teaches children valuable lessons and brings the Bible to life for them. We have several children's bibles, but what seems to be the case with most kids these days is that they need something tangible along with it. VeggieTales, our Little People Nativity set and a mix of arts and crafts are some of the tools that I use to teach some of those lessons that are a little harder for a toddler to grasp simply from a story.

I was really excited when I learned that VeggieTales had released a line of plush toys, because this again would serve as an additional reminder when she and I talk. Plus, it's really cute to hear her little toddler voice when she has these deep conversations with "Waw-ry." :) This is the little pow-wow that I came upon after bed time - what lessons was Larry teaching tonight?

You can now find Larry and friends at Walmart.

How do you use fictional characters to help guide
 your children in new experiences or making correct choices?


  1. Our son is almost two and watches a lot of shows that help with learning but I haven't thought to try using them in our personal learning as this whole parenting thing is new to me. I sing and dance with him to the shows but think it's smart to use them outside of watching the show since he now I think relates to the show.Maybe even try for discipline where I think I'm failing at.

  2. We've definitely done this with Daniel Tiger's neighborhood. :)

  3. Cute! As you know we are a total Elsa all day so I try to use that for teaching and reminding her how to act.

  4. Great idea! We are on the verge of toddlerhood. I'm keeping this idea.



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