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Do You Tell the Names of Licenced Characters?

post #1 of 56
Thread Starter 
We are TV-Free and licensed-character free.

There are a few situations where dd's have run into licenced characters. Sometimes they have sposies and there are characters on them and dd's even have favorites. They have named the characters themselves "blue guy", "red guy" etc. I don't see ANY need to change this. Dd even saw "red guy" at the book store, but again I wasn't going to tell her any different.

We also went to the Childrens Museum recently which is having a Clifford exhibit . I knew before hand thought we might avoid the area, but of course I would follow dd's lead. So they saw the giant dog - but I was certainly not going to call it Clifford. They called it big-red-dog, which was fine with me. They had some giant foam bones there and I had the bones talk to them (we are a very anthropomorphic family so this is fairly normal) in an effort to be different from the show.

As they get older I know other kids will introduce them to the names of the characters - I also plan to ask them if they like that name or want to give it a different one.

So do you actually introduce a licenced characters name, or let your kids define it?
post #2 of 56
We don't point out the names of characters to DS. He's seen a few things with Sesame Street characters, but we just focus on the item (ball, book) and not on muppet.

OT-The thing about Clifford really upsets me. I have original Clifford books from my childhood that I saved to read to my children. This was long before he was a tv character. But in an attempt to make money, he was revived on tv. Sigh. You can so tell the difference between the original books and the new, after tv show books. Even the art is better in the older stories. Thanks for letting me rant.
post #3 of 56
If it is a character that I knew as a kid (smurf, big bird) then I will name it for her. But I was SHOCKED when for her 2nd birthday my MIL gave her panties with Elmo on them and DD said 'Elmo panties' before anyone had even mentioned what they were. To my knowledge she had never even seen SS before receiving them. I am seriously amazed about all the things that she has picked up with minimal exposure.

She now, at almost 3, knows the names of pretty much all of them as far as the classic characters. There are a few stranger and 'minor character' ones that she (and I) don't know but all of them that are licensed we know.
post #4 of 56
I don't introduce the names but if specifically asked I would tell her them. I don't think I have an instance where i have been specifically asked yet though. She's quite content to give her own names or just ignore them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by homefrontgirl View Post
OT-The thing about Clifford really upsets me. I have original Clifford books from my childhood that I saved to read to my children. This was long before he was a tv character. But in an attempt to make money, he was revived on tv. Sigh. You can so tell the difference between the original books and the new, after tv show books. Even the art is better in the older stories. Thanks for letting me rant.
Funny that when I read the OP, I was thinking that he was a book character. I didn't even realize that he was on TV.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MCsMom View Post
If it is a character that I knew as a kid (smurf, big bird) then I will name it for her. But I was SHOCKED when for her 2nd birthday my MIL gave her panties with Elmo on them and DD said 'Elmo panties' before anyone had even mentioned what they were. To my knowledge she had never even seen SS before receiving them. I am seriously amazed about all the things that she has picked up with minimal exposure..
Yes, it is amazing how much they pick up without actually exposure to them, IYKWIM.
post #5 of 56
We are character free as well. Well, try to be but thanks to grandparents (and I do appreciate the gesture ) , a few things sneak in now and then. If the DC ask (which ALWAYS happens at the library) I tell them. MY older DD knows them all. She is almost 10 and all her friends have TV. Im ok with it. She doesn't feel pressured to want character things at all.
post #6 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by MCsMom View Post
If it is a character that I knew as a kid (smurf, big bird) then I will name it for her. But I was SHOCKED when for her 2nd birthday my MIL gave her panties with Elmo on them and DD said 'Elmo panties' before anyone had even mentioned what they were. To my knowledge she had never even seen SS before receiving them. I am seriously amazed about all the things that she has picked up with minimal exposure.

She now, at almost 3, knows the names of pretty much all of them as far as the classic characters. There are a few stranger and 'minor character' ones that she (and I) don't know but all of them that are licensed we know.
Yep this happened to us too. My dd somehow picked up the names of the Disney princesses without ever having seen them on tv or in books.
post #7 of 56
If its in a book, I don't care. We have alot of the clifford books, dd has no idea its on TV. She doesn't know what spongebob is (I'm not even sure I know what spongebob is....) and I haven't bothered to tell her. She knows who dora is, however, from a book at playgroup...
post #8 of 56
I always joke that DD is one of 5 kids in America who learned who Elmo and Thomas are from library books. So yeah, if it was in a book, I didn't change the names. However, Dora was "that little girl" for ages, and there are still some characters she doessn't know. Preschool has done a lot to take that away, though--although she gets the names kind of wrong sometimes. Ariel from The Little Mermaid is "Oriole," for instance.
post #9 of 56
The problem I find with this is that they're licensing EVERYTHING, including classic children's literature. Where would one draw the line?
post #10 of 56
Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. I think sometimes they ask me specifically what a character's name is, so of course then I tell them. But most of the time (primarily with non-people characters) they just assign a name that seems fitting to them (like Elmo is something like the red monster to my younger dd).
post #11 of 56
We generally do not tell the name of characters, but dd is picking some of them up at pre-school. She doesn't know any of the name of the princesses, thankfully! My friend (who I am surprised hasn't posted yet!) and I have a pet peeve about Nemo. Kids ought to know that it is a Clownfish, first and foremost! I even saw an article on the kid's page of the Washington Post where a public school teacher was using Nemo as a "learning tool" where kids threw a stuffed Nemo doll back and forth in the classroom while they answered questions. No where in the article was this fish doll referred to in any other way than Nemo. Nothing like our newspapers and school systems providing a little free advertising! Oy.

I do worry that my daughter will one day seem like an outcast, when the other girls are talking about Cinderella and my daughter says, "who?" Also, I rarely even read her the classic versions of the Disney stories, because I generally disapprove of the themes -- poison apples, wicked step-mothers, and the like.

We have a streamed music station that we like to listen to that plays all kinds of fabulous children's music. Included in the mix are songs from Sesame Street, including "Elmo's Song." Well, my daughter has finally figured out who Elmo is and she LOVES that song (I have to admit, it is kind of catchy). She already knows who Bert and Ernie are, from a book that her 11 year old step-brother has. So, she calls Elmo "Bert's puppet friend." I generally loathe all things Elmo, but the music station is so great, that I've decided to just let it go. The way I look at it, it is not as though that now that she has sort of figured out who Elmo is I'm going to run out and put a TV in the living room and subscribe to a cable service! There is a difference between recognizing some characters and having a TV blaring in the house all day long.

The big question, I think, is how do you explain to your kid why our family doesn't buy Dora or Elmo or Thomas the Train sneakers, toys, foods, clothes, etc.?
post #12 of 56
I don't tell him character names. I don't see why I would need or want to??
Nemo is a clown fish (not a lie is it?) Elmo is a red monster, etc.
Sure he's figured out a few, but he doesn't care one way or another.
I don't see why I should feed into the marketing of his imagination.
post #13 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shell View Post
My friend (who I am surprised hasn't posted yet!) and I have a pet peeve about Nemo. Kids ought to know that it is a Clownfish, first and foremost!



The big question, I think, is how do you explain to your kid why our family doesn't buy Dora or Elmo or Thomas the Train sneakers, toys, foods, clothes, etc.?
Here I am and amen sister to the clownfish thing.

Z has asked once or twice about why the red monster is on juice he sees in the store and so on. I say people are trying to get kids to buy things, even things that are not necessarily good for them. They hope you'll pick the one with the monster rather than picking the one you really need.

Even at age 3, he gets it. Now when he sees them and says "go away commercial I don't need you!"
post #14 of 56
This is my first visit to the forum and I just want to hug everyone! I love finding my own questions posted by someone else!

My children have picked up the names of lots of characters from various places, including preschool, library storytimes, the doctor's office, etc., but I tend not to supply the names if asked directly (a lot of times I don't know the names, so that makes it easier.)
post #15 of 56
Mine are so little that it hasn't really come up yet - but I'm also a SAHM in a very rural community, so we don't get out much.

I have not introduced characters yet. However, my ds received a little metal box with the Sesame Street characters on it - Big Bird, Grover, etc. - and when he was with Grandma, she pointed out all of their names for him. He remembered them the other day when he was carrying it around and told me "His name is Cookie Monster! He says 'Me want cookies'!" and proceeded to laugh.

I smiled and said "Yep." and Adam forgot about it.

I don't intend to hide characters from him, but at this point in my kids' lives, I am decidedly proactive about just not bringing much into their lives that I have to worry about it...
post #16 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shell View Post
The big question, I think, is how do you explain to your kid why our family doesn't buy Dora or Elmo or Thomas the Train sneakers, toys, foods, clothes, etc.?
Thankfully the character marketing on food and stuff is not as prevalent here in the UK as it is in the US, though of course it does exist. Maybe I am just blind to it to some degree because it's not really a part of our lives.

The question about specific characters hasn't come up as my daughter isn't exposed to that much as we go to a Waldorf school. However, she has pointed out things like cereal boxes, yogurts and the like that have characters or bright colourful designs who's purpose is to entice children. We've talked about marketing and how all packages are meant to get people to want to buy them and that kids products in particular have characters on them so kids will want them.
She's really aware of this now and will talk about things she's sees in the shops and how they are being marketed. She is fond of pointing at things and saying "Look at that Mummy, it's making me want to buy that!" LOL
post #17 of 56
I don't tell her the names. She does recognize Clifford because she sometimes picks out Clifford books at the library. And she's quickly catching on to names from her friends...grrr.
Someone gave her a Dora lego set for Christmas and she calls the little Dora figurine "the lady." It makes me so happy because it seems like every little girl is obsessed with Dora around here.
post #18 of 56
if dd comes straight out and says, "what is this thing's name?" then I will say some people call it such and such -- but you can call it whatever you want. I don't name them for her otherwise. we don't do characters in our house and we've been very clear with family about this.

i can't stand clifford. (sorry) i think the books are banal. That's my issue with the character books, in addition to the insidious marketing -- they aren't high quality children's lit, you know?

dd has a friend who has a lot of dora stuff (and she was there when said friend got a dora bike for her birthday.) but dd consistenly calls her nora, and that's fine with me. (I don't make a big deal of it when her shoes are on the "wrong" feet, why would I make sure she's precise with t.v. characters' names?
post #19 of 56
by the way, I'm enjoying reading all the ways people talk about marketing to their kids.
post #20 of 56
At this point (Paul's one) we just avoid it totally. If someone gives him something with a character on it, we just call it a bunny or whatever it is, not the character name. It is very hard though these days to avoid this. Everything is branded. Can't go anywhere with out seeing some character or branding thrown at you.

I think what you do is great! Why do kids need to be commercialized!

Julie
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