You can never really predict what television shows your kids are going to latch onto – and if your toddler is anything like mine, their absolute favorite show changes about every ten days to two weeks. Which can make it pretty hard to plan a themed party, just sayin’.
Mickey Mouse has been around since the 1930s, though I doubt that Walt Disney had any idea that his little mouse doodle would become an international icon and marketing juggernaut within a few short decades.
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse began its run in 2006, still airs daily, and most toddlers will love it fiercely (for a while) once they sit through an episode – and, according to pediatric psychologist Dr. Sarah Hornack, there are a few reasons for that.
“Children certainly enjoy the bright colors, sounds, songs, and interactive format of these types of television shows. Aspects of these television shows align well with the developmental milestones that children are typically trying to achieve.”
Each episode follows the Clubhouse friends Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, Daisy, and Donald as they solve problems and go on adventures. There’s also Toodles, who supplies the tools necessary to solve the problems at hand, and they often require some creativity to apply them correctly.
The focus on problem-solving is age-appropriate, says pediatrician and internist Dr. Betsy Marks.
“These shows tend to be attractive to kids because they are fun, engaging, but also informative. They require the kids to problem solve, but let them have fun with songs, repetition and make-believe.”
My toddler is obsessed with music and the music – including the ending “Hot Dog Dance” – were his favorite parts of every episode. The repetition and knowing what to expect also helps kids focus through the 20-minute escapade.
Which is great, but Dr. Marks would remind us that “there is absolutely such a thing as too much screen time for children. The AAP recommends that children under age 18 months shouldn’t be exposed to any screen time at all with the exception of occasional video chats.”
Once your child hits that mark, though, a few episodes a day shouldn’t be an issue, though doctors like Natasha Burgert do still recommend that you watch the programs with your child in order to facilitate learning.
“The ability to learn improves slightly from the age of 2 to 3 if a parent or caregiver is watching with them, contextualizing the information into the real world for them.”
Dr. Marks agrees, reiterating that kids over 2 should still be limited to an hour a day, and saying that “it is still best if done in a shared environment with a parent or caregiver to foster learning.”
Which is all great advice, and I’m sure we do exactly that every time it works out. But in the real world, we need to do things like laundry and empty dishwashers and cook dinner and go to the bathroom and take showers, and so we need a way to keep our littles occupied, out of trouble, and alive for twenty minutes in a row.
So, let Mickey help you out if you need him to – he’s been doing it successfully for decades.