We watch a lot of cartoons. Part of it is that if the Imp is watching the telly, I tend to be watching it with her. The other part is that I admit to still having part of me that's a big kid. I do limit the cartoon watching, though, because too much "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" melts my brain cells. I can say that at least most of what she watches is educational, but, you know what? Sometimes we need to watch cartoons that make us giggle.
I find that, nowadays, almost all of the cartoons that are aimed at the Imp's age groups is a constant onslaught of educational items...counting, colours, morals, etc. It is a fantastic thing, but sometimes a kid just has to be able to stop and watch something that they don't have to think about...to be able to watch it for fun. I introduced the Imp to Looney Tunes this week, and I don't think I've ever heard her giggle at something like she did while watching the Road Runner and Wyle E. Coyote. And when Wyle E. Coyote fell, she was gasping in shock, and saying "oh no!" until she realised that he was ok. She also loves to watch classic Batman, with Adam West, where she comments "They're really silly, mummy."
I've been thinking about this, comparing cartoons that are aimed at the Imp today to cartoons that were aimed at me when I was in her age bracket. Unless we watched PBS for Sesame Street and 321 Contact, the cartoons were just to make us laugh. Some of the early cartoons during the week were mixed in with Cowboy Bob, who taught us our morals like how to be nice. But it wasn't non-stop education like what the Imp is presented with now. It shouldn't have to be...they need to have a break from it, time to be a child and have a giggle. The classic cartoons also taught us a range of emotions, that not everything is fluffy and bright all of the time. Take Wyle E. Coyote, as an example. He shows a range of emotions through all of his segments. Joy at when he thinks he's found the perfect solution to catching the Roadrunner. Frustration when it doesn't work, and persistence to keep on trying. That range is missing in a lot of the modern cartoons.
The Imp and I don't just watch cartoons, either. When she is up, I make sure that things aren't definitely for adults, but we watch a wide range of programs together. Star Trek and Star Wars, Doctor Who, Britain's and America's Got Talent (she actually tries to dance along), Music Videos, etc. A year ago, I was actually told off because we watch the news every day. Seriously?!? So many children are sheltered nowadays, they don't know what the real world is like. We don't watch much of the national news, but we mainly watch the local news, which isn't as harsh as the national news. I've even gotten the occasional idea of a day out for us by watching the local news.
The point is that we watch it together, and we talk about what's going on. We sing along to theme tunes and music videos. When we watch the educational cartoons, the Imp counts along, and shouts out the shapes or colours that they're looking for, and we chat about what is going on. When we watch anything else, we chat about what's going on as well, and giggle together. In the process, she learns that she can giggle, but that not everything is all fluffy, sugary nice, and cutesy.