How to get your kids to watch better TV

And why is my child in a cloud?

If you watched Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, try Ele: The Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning Environment.

By Sharon Miller Cindrich


Q: I'm so tired of today's TV! How can I find great shows like the ones I grew up with for my kids?

A: Despite competition, TV still is the most consumed form of media for kids 8-18. Almost every household has at least one TV, while 80 percent have three to four TV sets and 70 percent of kids report having TV sets in their bedrooms. This group spends more than four hours a day, on average, watching television.

With so many choices, parents can help guide their child's TV habits by exploring new resources that offer something beyond the current cable lineup and provide interactive components to enhance online learning and family conversations.

If you were a fan of the following, you'll find some fun, fresh alternatives to basic viewing complete with a healthy dose of nostalgia at these sites.

  1. If you watched Mister Rogers' Neighborhood: Explore Ele! The Fred Rogers Center Early Learning Environment ( is an innovative online space where early educators and families come together to share digital resources that support early learning-just like Mister Rogers' Neighborhood did. Join in the free community and engage in discussions with other community members. On, your child can watch Mr. Rogers sing his signature neighbor song, play games and watch videos of the same episodes you enjoyed years ago.
  2. If you watched Sesame Street: Watch Sesame Street. The program is still running in many markets and currently enjoying season 43. offers program schedules in your area, along with interactive games and videos-including the exact snippets shown 40 years ago!
  3. If you watched The Electric Company: Visit The Electric Company website at Designed for kids 6-9, this hip portal offers a TV show and online destination focused on literacy.
  4. If you watched Family Ties, Happy Days, Little House on the Prairie: Classic sitcoms and dramas offer opportunities for creative conversations with older children about changes in social behaviors, gender roles, fashion, hairstyles, language and comedy. Get them hooked on a great series and they will experience a fraction of the violence and profanity prevalent in today's TV options.

If you have tweens and teens in the house, settle in for a fun evening of TV flashbacks with these resources:

  1. Check the networks. You can find old episodes on, which offers full free episodes of I Love Lucy, The Brady Bunch, Family Ties, Happy Days, Star Trek and more. Or try featuring Knight Rider, Battlestar Galactica and The A-Team.
  2. Try Classic TV Database (, which features a searchable database by era (1980s shows include Taxi and The Muppet Show), genre (comedy includes Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C. and Gilligan's Island) and network (Bewitched and The Lone Ranger appeared under ABC).
  3. Try other online sites. Hulu ( offers a classic channel and free episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Lost in Space, Green Acres and McHale's Navy to name just a few. TV Land ( provides episodes of classics like The Jeffersons, Good Times, Gunsmoke and I Dream of Jeannie.

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