A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the CoComelon TV series is very similar to the wildly popular animated music videos CoComelon publishes on YouTube. The music videos are appropriate for the very youngest of viewers, and touch on typical preschool themes. While not egregious, representation could be better -- while the main character's preschool friends are racially diverse, the featured family is white and gender representations are fairly stereotypical throughout.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
COCOMELON is the Netflix version of YouTube's most popular American channel (with 92 million+ subscribers). Each one-hour episode features around 20 songs for toddlers and preschoolers. Every music video features the main character J.J., his family, and his classmates. Some of the songs in each episode are classic nursery rhymes like "Ba Ba Black Sheep" and "Five Little Monkeys." Many of the songs are new CoComelon originals that introduce toddler-appropriate topics like numbers, letters, careers, dinosaurs, and more. Others talk about important parts of toddlers' lives, like going to school, nap time, and grandparents. The visuals that go along with each of the songs is a mini story about J.J.'s life at home or at school.
Is it any good?
Toddlers and young preschoolers will love these music videos because they are such a close reflection of their lives. They show main character J.J. doing regular toddler things like spending time with family, taking a nap, and learning things at preschool. The songs themselves are slow and simple enough that young kids can actually understand the lyrics and learn things from them. Many of the songs also do a great job modeling positive behavior like helping friends or caring for animals, and many also help kids name emotions like fear or sadness.
Overall, these are songs that young kids love and parents can feel good about them watching, but there are a few inconsistencies with CoComelon. The characters appear to be about 1 year old, but are shown doing things in school like cutting with scissors, or playing tug-of-war. They also babble like babies most of the time, but will break into full sentences randomly. The show does have examples of counter-stereotypes, but it also features a fair amount of gender stereotypes (Dad teaches kids how to throw a ball and fix things, boys are firefighters and construction workers on career day, etc.). The kids at school are racially diverse, but the main characters are all white. Also, the hour-long format may be difficult for parents who limit screen time, as there's not a natural stopping point in the episode and young kids may have a hard time turning the songs off.
Talk to your kids about ...
Encourage kids to dance and sing along with CoComelon. Can you invent a family dance for any of the songs?
Each episode of CoComelon is one hour long, and it may be difficult for young kids to stop watching part way through. Before you play CoComelon, set expectations of how long your child will be able to watch.
Families can talk about what their favorite song is. Do any of the stories remind you of anything that happens in your own life (nap time, going to school, playing with siblings, etc.)?
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