Extra-Gentle TV Shows for Preschoolers

When the mood calls for something mellow, these programs are easy on the eyes (and ears!). By Polly Conway
Extra-Gentle TV Shows for Preschoolers

What do you do when your kids are extra-sensitive to high-energy TV shows? Shows with loud noises, intense music, and jarring sound effects can stress some kids out or cause them to emulate any wild behavior they see on-screen. If fast-paced shows aren't your preschooler's style, here are a handful of alternatives that -- while still entertaining -- have a softer, quieter vibe. After a few episodes and a few deep breaths, both you and your kids can just ... chill.

Clangers, 3+, Sprout
There’s no dialogue here, save for William Shatner’s calming narration as he gives voice to what the Clangers, a pink alien family living on their own little planet, are up to in each episode. The stop-motion animation and pleasant soundtrack are very easy on the senses, and this space-set series is almost entrancing as it tells simple, sweet stories.

Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, 3+, PBS
This peaceful series is a well-rounded choice for little ones who are learning how to deal with emotions. Daniel (the son of the original Daniel Striped Tiger from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood) and his family treat each other with kindness and respect. Parents who have fond memories of Mister Rogers will enjoy revisiting his messages, too.

Kipper, 3+, Sprout
Kipper is a sweet British pup who spends his days exploring with his animal buddies Tiger and Pig. Together they work through conflicts that help preschoolers learn right from wrong and what true friendship is all about. 

Lily's Driftwood Bay, 3+, Sprout
Lily and her laid-back, loving dad live in a little hut on the beach, where she explores her cute paper-cutout world and adventures with friends both real and imaginary. This imaginative Irish series can inspire your kids to explore their own worlds with curiosity.

Puffin Rock, 3+, Netflix
Irish actor Chris O'Dowd warmly narrates this delightful show about kindhearted, curious puffin Oona and her family. Kids will learn all about their island environment while following Oona's sweet, never shrill adventures (gorgeously animated by the folks behind Song of the Sea and The Secret of Kells).

Tumble Leaf, 3+, Amazon Prime
Vibrant animation and colorful characters, such as little blue bear Fig and his animal friends, will draw preschoolers to this gently paced series, where sweet animal characters make exciting discoveries about nature and the world around them.

Molang, 3+, Disney Junior
Adorable animation? Dialogue-free? Preschool parents should say yes, please to the simple, pastel-colored adventures of Molang, a little white bunny, and his friend Piu-Piu, a tiny chick. They do things like go to the beach, enjoy flowers atop a mountain, and try to entertain a goldfish, and the short episodes are easy and fun to watch for the whole family. 

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About Polly Conway

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As Common Sense Media's Senior TV Editor, Polly is responsible for championing the latest and greatest in TV for kids and families. She's an expert in the realm of shows that are created for (and/or appeal to -- not... Read more

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Comments (4)

Parent of a 4 year old written by Aniko S.

I'd like to add "Sarah and Duck," a sweet, gentle show about a girl and a duck who befriend each other. Another show we like is "Mouk." It's about two friends who travel the world on their bicycles, meeting people and experiencing cultures on their way.
Adult written by BethH 5

I agree, Kipper was a favorite of ours, and Little Bear. I love the idea of Extra-Gentle TV...why as adults do we impose our need for excitement on children? This is also prevalent in Kindie Music, when music by Bobby Susser or Raffi would be so much more appropriate for little ears & minds. Thank you, Polly!
Parent written by Janelle

We enjoyed Little Bear based on the books by Else Holmelund Minarik and illustrated by Maurice Sendak. The show was quiet and slow-paced and emphasized family, friendship, kindness, responsibility, creativity and curiosity. It was the first show our daughter ever watched when she was about 3 1/2 years old. She was familiar with the books, which we continued to read to her at this age.

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