for those who avoid licensed characters, how do you rank Dora? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 63 Old 03-25-2011, 10:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We pretty much avoid all licensed characters in our household. (I realize I won't be able to get away with that forever, but we've lasted to age 3, and survived most of a year of preschool, and DD still doesn't seem to recognize most of them, which I see as victory!) A babysitter recently showed DD to a Dora video, and I'm deciding how to respond. If we agree that a 20 minute video on a day when it's too cold to play outside is OK, is it worth steering them away from Dora?

 

Having never seen a Dora video myself, how would you compare her to other licensed characters? Better? Worse?

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#2 of 63 Old 03-25-2011, 10:54 AM
 
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Personally, I'd avoid Dora.  As a treat with a babysitter I think it is fine, but there are far better kids shows to watch on a rainy/cold day.  I'd choose anything on PBS over Dora.

 


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#3 of 63 Old 03-25-2011, 11:00 AM
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i dislike most of them mainly because they just seem...tacky...and i don't want the toys in the house. if somebody can give me more concrete reasons to hate them i'll gladly do it! (but i've really never watched any of those shows)

but nothing stirs up feelings of hatred in me like elmo. seriously, what is it about him that makes him addictive like crack? that a kid who's never watched tv can spot him on another kid's diaper and the obsession begins????


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#4 of 63 Old 03-25-2011, 11:10 AM
 
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I think it really depends why you don't let your kids watch these shows. 

 

If it's because you don't like all the extras they generate (dolls, toys, books etc) than Dora is definitely up there with one of the worst offenders. 

 

If you don't like them because they are mainstream Dora's also not a good one (they've had an episodes about shots, her baby siblings are given bottles, and she goes to school). 

 

If you don't like them because you are worried its too fast passed/confusing for a young child here's where Dora DOES excel.  It's slow, they're always moving in the same direction on the screen, there's never any fighting, and the characters treat each other with kindness.  There's also a very minimal introduction to Spanish. 

 

We let DD watch TV and the shows she gets to watch (obviously not all on the same day!!!) are Dora, Diego, Kai Lan, Team Umizoomi, Blue's Clues, Word World, The Cat in the Hat Knows A lot About That, and Super Why. 

 

She's seen a few others on rare occasions but we normally choose one of those above.  We pick shows that are not scary for her, ones where the characters are helpful, and ones that don't annoy me too much (cough-YoGabagaba or Thomas the Train-cough).  She definitely gets the most out of the Nick Jr. shows simply because they are more at her level and easier to follow (stuff like WordWorld/Super Why/Cat in the Hat don't get watched nearly as often because they involve more complex ideas that she doesn't always get but the Nick Jr ones she'll relate the whole episode to me after watching it and discuss it with me). 

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#5 of 63 Old 03-25-2011, 12:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by physmom View Post

 

If it's because you don't like all the extras they generate (dolls, toys, books etc) than Dora is definitely up there with one of the worst offenders. 

 

 

For us, this is the biggest issue with Dora, and is the reason we are limiting her exposure to the videos. 

 

We actually like Elmo videos at our house -- I find the Sesame Street world in general to be less annoying than most children's programming, and the Elmo's World videos are divided into 15-minute increments which is usually just enough time for me to get a load of laundry in, or start dinner, and then I can say "it's over!  Time to turn it off!" 

 

The branding, however, is dreadful.  My daughter is 22 months old and can identify every Sesame Street character, Dora, and any Disney princess (though she calls them all "princess" -- they don't have names yet).  She has never seen a Dora video; the attraction to Dora is solely from a couple of books she received as a gift.  The branding and marketing to toddlers is intense, and it is deliberate.  Elmo and Dora are the worst, in my experience.  It seems like lately we have a fight in every single supermarket aisle over Elmo or Dora-branded toothpaste, sugary processed foods, diapers, toys, ice cream, etc.  I hate it.  If I could go back in time and keep her from ever being exposed to those brands, even in book form, I probably would. 


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#6 of 63 Old 03-25-2011, 01:40 PM
 
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Dreadful branding, among the worst. Even if you don't mind the shows you are going to be smacked in the face with her everytime you go anywhere. And of course your LO will have a connection and want all of the low quality MIC junk with dubious plastics, paint, lead exposure. Sesame Street is just as bad. I've never seen the show, I have no idea how it rates on the character scale, but I loathe seeing that face everywhere.

 

We don't do tv, but if we did, the very last time I would allow is with a paid caregiver. Seriously, I pay you, play with my kids. If I am going to allow tv it will be used so I can shower or be sick in peace.

 

The Dora actually laughs because we recently visited some friends in another city and we've discussed childrearing many times by phone. And every time I go there think, um? what?, like mother is breastfeeding without problems but there is a LOT of formula in the house, or "she only watches tv with the nanny" and the house is FILLED with licensed junk.

 

Hate Elmo too. He is baby crack. We have one story someone gave me and both my kids latched on to him. We have nothing else but for some reason they think there is an Elmo in Goodnight Moon and they both came to that conclusion independently.

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#7 of 63 Old 03-25-2011, 02:23 PM
 
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The branding, however, is dreadful.  My daughter is 22 months old and can identify every Sesame Street character, Dora, and any Disney princess (though she calls them all "princess" -- they don't have names yet).  She has never seen a Dora video; the attraction to Dora is solely from a couple of books she received as a gift.  The branding and marketing to toddlers is intense, and it is deliberate.  Elmo and Dora are the worst, in my experience.  It seems like lately we have a fight in every single supermarket aisle over Elmo or Dora-branded toothpaste, sugary processed foods, diapers, toys, ice cream, etc.  I hate it.  If I could go back in time and keep her from ever being exposed to those brands, even in book form, I probably would.
 

FWIW, DD's never seen anything Disney (it just bothers me somehow) but she still knows all about the princesses.  Plus she's CONSTANTLY given Disney stuff.  Ironically, she's going through a stage where she hates all things princess and won't even wear dresses much at all anymore because she doesn't want to be a princess!
 

 

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#8 of 63 Old 03-25-2011, 08:45 PM
 
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If your kind wants branded (read: expensive) things after seeing a show, go to the show's website and print out some coloring pages. A number of the shows have quasi-interactive versions where the kid can pick the character, scene, something the character is holding--that kind of thing.

 

That said we've got a dora plate/bowl/cup set that dd pick out from the set of 3 that her great grandma had (so far, used entirely for playing with playdough, the cup is a great rolling pin), a disney princesses shirt from a neighbor (dd's never seen the related movies, but <3s her some princesses (didja know that princesses are friends with pirates and can turn people into butterflies?)), a box of Cars bandaids, a Wall-E toothbrush, and a Pororo fork and spoon that I want to get the chopsticks to match.

 

And y'know, when you don't have a house full of the same character, and the character stuff you do have is tucked away, it's actually pretty useful. DD is saying she doesn't want to brush teeth, I ask if Wall-E can count her buggies, she'll happily eat her dinner if she gets a Pororo fork, etc. But it does also work with other stuff, e.g. "do  you want monkey socks or butterfly socks?" is generally more effective with dd than "do you want blue or pink?"

 

Oh! forgot about the stuffed animals, we've also got a Pigeon, Knuffle Bunny, a Baby Owl and Owly, and a classic Pooh chosen by a friend's dd when she was 3 "all babies need a ted bear!".

 

edited yet again: we've also got Makona and P-chan, and had Pip and Pop from Bear in the Big Blue House, but they're in the donation bag now. (didn't think of those right away because they were/are mine, and dd doesn't pay them much attention.)

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#9 of 63 Old 03-26-2011, 10:23 AM
 
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I have thus far forbidden Dora because I find her irritating AND the branded stuff is everywhere and I don't want to argue with my kid every time we go to the store. He's the kind to get very sucked in by seeing the character everywhere.

 

He watches Charlie and Lola and Sesame Street mostly.  Sometimes Caillou, Kipper, or Dinosaur Train.  We always have him watch either DVDs or Netflix (we don't have a television anyway) so as to avoid commercials because they are the worst.  I really like Charlie and Lola.  They talk about interesting things, it moves at a nice slow pace, and it is a brother and sister who love and respect each other.  I find Caillou and Kipper both irritating and I (somewhat jokingly) maintain that DS didn't start whining till he watched Caillou ;)

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#10 of 63 Old 03-26-2011, 11:40 AM
 
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I do let my kids watch TV-- not a lot but they watch.  All kids cartoons are mind numbing eye candy, and the multicultural/ bilingual stuff is misleading.  My kids learned maybe three words of spanish from Dora.  I am fluent in spanish and am teaching them now in homeschool.  They thought vamanos meant "hurry up" from diego.  ugh!  If you want to teach your kids spanish there are infinitely better ways.  But if you just want them to have some entertainment for a while, I don't think much of it is any different from the rest as long as it is age appropriate.

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#11 of 63 Old 03-26-2011, 02:56 PM
 
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Aside from the commercialization and consumerism point (we avoid all licensed characters), another reason I want to avoid Dora is that the new, older-aged version of Dora is not nearly as in line with our values as the original. The tween Dora is more into shopping and looking pretty than into exploring. See the following piece from Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.
 



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#12 of 63 Old 03-26-2011, 03:33 PM
 
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We do let DD watch Dora, but we really try to encourage her to watch other things.  We like Yo Gabba Gabba, but we're a music-oriented family, so it fits well with us.  We also like lots of the PBS Kids shows.  It just depends what you like.

 

Dora is good for teaching sequence of events, and it moves at just the right pace.  Those are the good points.  

 

The bad: She's always yelling "Louder!"  It's a silly thing, but it drives me nuts. :)  DH gets irritated with Dora because he says she often mocks things/people that are different.  Obviously this isn't what we want to teach DD.  


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#13 of 63 Old 03-26-2011, 08:42 PM
 
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Ds doesn't get to watch anything we can't stand to listen to/watch. Dora is high on the list. We actually pvr 3 shows for him & he gets to pick from those: chuggington (very cute & just starting to have a lot of branded items here) bob (not popular here right now so not much available as far as junk) & roary the racing car (haven't seen anything on sale for this one).

 

So far ds doesn't know any of the names of popular kids characters. I've found people have been really respectful when they realize we are not into it. For example at the end of his gymnastics class the instructor gave each kid a Tigger sticker. I said "oh look, a tiger". No one corrected me & ds enjoy the tiger. For now at least this is working for us.


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#14 of 63 Old 03-26-2011, 08:50 PM
 
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My kids sometimes watch Dora.  I don't like it, but don't ban it either. The problem I have isn't with the show as much as with the mega branding and dora crap everywhere.  As far as licensed characters go, I don't think they are too bad.  My kids are really only into preschool shows though, and I think most of them are annoying but okay.


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#15 of 63 Old 03-27-2011, 07:16 AM
 
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I find Dora irritating because it's loud, but my son does watch it sometimes. He doesn't really care about wanting products with characters on it though. I too think that would be the biggest reason to avoid it. I'm pretty sure I saw Dora paper bags not too long ago, gah.


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#16 of 63 Old 03-27-2011, 07:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lifeguard View Post

Ds doesn't get to watch anything we can't stand to listen to/watch. Dora is high on the list. We actually pvr 3 shows for him & he gets to pick from those: chuggington (very cute & just starting to have a lot of branded items here) bob (not popular here right now so not much available as far as junk) & roary the racing car (haven't seen anything on sale for this one).

 

So far ds doesn't know any of the names of popular kids characters. I've found people have been really respectful when they realize we are not into it. For example at the end of his gymnastics class the instructor gave each kid a Tigger sticker. I said "oh look, a tiger". No one corrected me & ds enjoy the tiger. For now at least this is working for us.

i've been trying to so the same thing with elmo (who dd has never seen in action but is all over). so far calling him "monkey" has worked but she's only 18 months so i know it's only a matter of time....
 

 


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#17 of 63 Old 03-27-2011, 07:42 AM
 
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Dora is always yelling. It hurts my brain.

 

I let DS watch a few minutes of Calliou when he is getting dressed to go out. I really like Calliou. It's cute and slow paced and the story lines are so simple.


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#18 of 63 Old 03-27-2011, 12:11 PM
 
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I agree with pp about the branding on Dora, sesame street, Disney, etc. It's everywhere, and preschoolers love nothing better than repetition and familiarity so if they're introduced to the characters regularly, it's likely they'll get very attached, and then it can be difficult to avoid the consumer products and marketing. 

As far as quiet, slow-paced shows... when DD1 was that age she loved Little Bear. Very calm, slow-paced, and he lives in a more natural environment. Of course it's not perfect, but it was as good as it got.

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#19 of 63 Old 03-27-2011, 12:17 PM
 
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We like Little Bear. It's slow, sweet and simple. And the only branding I've found for it is toddler toothpaste...

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#20 of 63 Old 03-27-2011, 12:30 PM
 
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I kept Dora out of our house for a long time, but when we were moving last November, I let them see one episode, and my two-year-old LOVED it. I find Dora irritating, mostly because she yells everything she says. My kids have become really interested in Spanish (which is kind of ironic, because we already speak two languages at home, and I have a hard time getting them to speak German). They ask me how to say different things in Spanish all the time, and they sing a Spanish lullaby and know lots of Spanish words from Dora and Diego. Personally, I think Diego is the better show.

 

My kids know that we don't buy anything with Dora on it. They have asked before, but seem to accept that I just won't do it. I explain that the toy is not more fun just because Dora's face is on it. 

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#21 of 63 Old 03-27-2011, 08:00 PM
 
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I would also rank Dora among the worst, especially among non-Disney. She's EVERYWHERE. We used to be more lax about characters and TV, but when they started creeping in to too much of our lives, we scaled it back a lot. Our daughter is 3 and she can watch one program a day of her choosing (with my guidance of course). We let her have a licensed product here and there within reason. She loves Berenstain Bears and so do I. We have always read the books and she's now into the show. The morals of the stories are almost always spot on and there isn't too much licensed product out there for them nowadays. So, yeah, I think it would be worth steering clear of Dora, and I wouldn't make a big deal about it but I'd just tell her babysitter what she is allowed to watch instead. My daughter occasionally watches the older Thomas episodes too, the ones where they actually used a real model train set, because I think they're neat and they are also only 18 minutes long so when we're pressed for time or I am in a "no-tv" mood I suggest one of those. Other favorites are Zaboomafoo, Barney, Dinosaur Train, and Curious George, (PBS much?!) but they don't get too much play over the Bears lately.

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#22 of 63 Old 03-28-2011, 06:41 AM
 
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anti nick here with the exception of yo gabba gabba. you know what? i like that show myself.

anti disney. dora gives me nightmares!

i put on sesame street sometimes, but he just isn't a TV kid. elmo IS like baby crack. my son could be fast asleep, hear elmo voice and wake up and yell ELMO! lots of earth's best organics are now branded with elmo (sesame street)

we also like fraggle rock :D it's on HUB now! that's a rare saturday morning with mom and dad activity.

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#23 of 63 Old 03-28-2011, 06:45 AM
 
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Yes, we avoid Dora, I have no idea what the show is like but I see that character on everything so it would be on the top of my 'avoid' list.... but DS doesn't watch TV and we don't have cable or anything anyway so that skews my response. He does have a couple books with Classic Pooh and a couple with Sesame Street characters (but he thinks they are just 'monsters') and he has a couple Eric Carle books which are leaning toward 'licensed characters' IMO (at least around here, that caterpillar is EVERYWHERE) but that's about it and that's all I'm really comfortable with... We have gone so far as to return/donate gifts with Spongebob or Cars or whatever other characters on them... but we kept the Nemo ball (since it just looks like generic fish) and the Cookie Monster [just 'Monster' to him] toothbrush since it's practically impossible to find a character-free toothbrush. It's hard to find a balance & hard to figure out where (or IF) to draw the line.

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#24 of 63 Old 03-28-2011, 06:45 AM
 
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We let DS watch Dora at night after supper.   IDK - I thought the show was sorta cute, but then I don't tend to read alot into the character.   I enjoyed Disney growing up and I liked Sesame Street too.   I liked Barbies and always wanted all the Barbie clothes, but we never got them.  IDK - I guess I just don't mind my LO enjoying some of these characters.  It seems fun for him and the stories try to teach a little something.   DS has picked up a couple spanish words from it and he likes to read her books.    My house has toys with the characters that he likes and other toys as well.    We got the Dora plate and an ABC plate for him - he gets to choose which plate he wants to eat off at night.     I don't take DS shopping with me too often so I haven't had the problem of him begging for certain items - he gets what I buy him.      It's just not a big deal for us right now.   That could change in the future, but for now we like it.

 

 

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#25 of 63 Old 03-28-2011, 07:20 AM
 
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Dora is the one character we let into the house, though it wasn't really by choice: we speak Spanish in the home, so Dora was my gringo family's way of trying to respect that. lol.gif We record the episodes off of the Spanish channel so they're all Spanish with a few English words thrown in; and the vocabulary and grammar are actually quite good compared to others we've seen. DD doesn't know many bilingual children, so Dora helps a bit in that respect, too.

I agree the branding is ridiculous, RIDICULOUS; that said, we haven't bought ANYTHING Dora-branded other than pull-ups when traveling (we CD otherwise), though my family continues to get Dora stuff for DD. For Christmas she got the Dora Links doll, which is the tween version mentioned by a pp: while she is into trying on different clothes, etc., all of the adventures in the game are for charity: animal rights, recycling, community development, environmental protection, etc., Even dressing up is less "fashion" and more "disguises" to help her solve "mysteries."

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#26 of 63 Old 03-28-2011, 07:32 AM
 
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I avoid licensed characters because I don't want my daughter developing any attachments to a marketing ploy. For that reason, Dora is about the 2nd worst (Elmo "wins" by a landslide). She's seen a few books with Dora in it, similarly Elmo, and probably Barbie, but they aren't allowed in my house, and I'm never going to make a point of showing them to her. I'm not offended by the content of either Dora or Elmo (Barbie, Disney Princesses of course I am), but I don't want it to be a big deal. Ever.

 

 


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#27 of 63 Old 03-28-2011, 07:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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the Cookie Monster [just 'Monster' to him] toothbrush since it's practically impossible to find a character-free toothbrush.


Agreed -- it is ridiculous how hard it is to find kids' toothbrushes without characters! (That and kids' sunglasses -- grrrr.) I did find a nice pack of toothbrushes in fun colors for kids, no characters, at Target.

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#28 of 63 Old 03-28-2011, 08:24 AM
 
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Agreed -- it is ridiculous how hard it is to find kids' toothbrushes without characters! (That and kids' sunglasses -- grrrr.) I did find a nice pack of toothbrushes in fun colors for kids, no characters, at Target.


We've never had problems finding non-character toothbrushes/sunglasses.  Well, better put DD's first toothbrush was some random fairy toothbrush (but not associated with anything) and all the consignment shops I know sell millions of non-character glasses (I have yet to see character ones?).

 

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#29 of 63 Old 03-28-2011, 08:38 AM
 
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My daughter loves Dora, but I don't buy anything with Dora on it.  We have a couple of Dora books that were gifts, and I don't have a problem with them (well, one I donated because it was about her twin siblings and had bottles in it, LOL).

 

I get that some parents want to avoid the pervasiveness of children's characters, but I don't find it difficult to just say no.  My almost 6 year old rarely if ever asks for a toy or clothing item just because it has a character he likes on it.  He'd just as soon play basketball or build with Legos as play with his Cars cars.  


A, jammin.gif mama to a boy (2005) and a girl (2009)
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#30 of 63 Old 03-28-2011, 10:15 AM
 
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Originally Posted by marispel View Post

We let DS watch Dora at night after supper.   IDK - I thought the show was sorta cute, but then I don't tend to read alot into the character.   I enjoyed Disney growing up and I liked Sesame Street too.   I liked Barbies and always wanted all the Barbie clothes, but we never got them.  IDK - I guess I just don't mind my LO enjoying some of these characters.  It seems fun for him and the stories try to teach a little something.   DS has picked up a couple spanish words from it and he likes to read her books.    My house has toys with the characters that he likes and other toys as well.    We got the Dora plate and an ABC plate for him - he gets to choose which plate he wants to eat off at night.     I don't take DS shopping with me too often so I haven't had the problem of him begging for certain items - he gets what I buy him.      It's just not a big deal for us right now.   That could change in the future, but for now we like it.

 

 


Same here. Don't mind that the kids become fans of a character, it gives them joy. The Dora episodes don't do any harm IMO. No problems with buying stuff (yet), good way to teach them about not being able to get everything they want. I find Yo-Gaba Gaba anoying for some reason :-) I currently like the Fresh Beat Band, kids also like it and get inspired to play music and dance, which I like.

 

Carmen

 

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