By Rachel Hoeing

One day when I asked my daughter to do something that she wasn’t too crazy about doing, she looked at me and replied with a bit of sass, “I’d Rather Stick Pins in My Eyeballs.” You might be thinking. “Oh, she is going through the teenager attitude phase right?” No, the girl is FOUR! I couldn’t believe when that came out of her mouth! Initially, it struck me as funny and I could not help but laugh. Then I asked her where she had heard that and she replied, “High School Musical.” I know what you are thinking – “It is HIGH SCHOOL musical, Rachel, not PRESCHOOL musical, of course she is going to hear things like that and mimic what they do.”

I guess I have just always tried to be laid back and consider that I ran around the house singing, “Push It” and “Like a Virgin” when I was a kid having no idea what they meant and I think I turned out OK! (Enter zinger comments from my friends here!) I watched Three’s Company, Grease, and other things that had “suggestive” plots , but never really caught on.

But then other times I wonder if I am totally warping their minds when I let my kids watch shows or movies like this. My son’s new response when I ask him to clean his room or pick up his things is, “Got it, girl!” Far cry from the “Yes, ma’am” that many parents would expect, huh?

Personally, I think most of these sayings and actions are harmless and more than likely they are catching on to my own personality and common sayings more than anything from TV! As long as my children are respectful to others and to themselves, I think that is the number one priority, but it still brings me to the topic that I wanted to discuss today – which TV shows and movies do you think are inappropriate for your kids?

I personally love Noggin – good, clean, fun, but needless to say, my son who is almost seven is absolutely over that channel, which means my daughter only watches it when he is not around. I also like Boomerang because it brings back memories of my childhood when we watched the Flintstones and the Jetsons. I am not crazy about Cartoon Network, and even Disney sometimes has shows that I am not too happy about letting my kids watch. Don’t even get me started on Nickelodeon.

I may need to throw in here that we do not have DVR, so there is no advance planning for shows. If we are home on a weekday, my children get about an hour of TV, so it totally depends on what time homework is done, if we have any other activities, etc. What they watch just depends on what happens to be on television at the time that we have a free hour.

And what is up with the dark and dreary movies for kids lately? Have you seen Coraline? What about the remakes of Alice in Wonderland, A Christmas Carol, and Where the Wild Things Are? Why do they have to be so creepy, dark, and dismal?

Realistically, most parents do not have the time to sit with their children and monitor every TV show, or prescreen every movie before we allow them to watch it, so let’s help each other out here – what shows and movies are appropriate for what ages?

Again, my top recommendations for children ages 4-7 are the Noggin shows and Boomerang Channel. I also think the PBS shows are great for younger kids. For movies, we recently saw How to Train Your Dragon. It was so cute. A great DVD … I thought Kung Fu Panda was so cute for adults and kids without being too scary or sad. And the classics … I love The Parent Trap (old and new versions).

Tell us what you think!