A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The Daniel Tiger series encourages preschoolers to think critically about how to navigate relatable issues, and each story offers a positive example of ways to cope. This episode focuses on the COVID-19 pandemic (the special just calls it "germs"), and how to stay healthy and safe. Kids will be reassured that they can stay safe, and also find ways to be happier. Each episode's theme is reiterated many times through song and dialogue.
Daniel's experiences remind kids that life is rarely perfect, but with patience and loving guidance from grown-ups, they can learn how to cope with tribulations. Strong relationships and communication are a primary emphasis in this special, as with all Daniel Tiger episodes, and Daniel always leans on friends and family for help when he needs it. Curiosity, empathy, and teamwork are additional themes.
Positive Role Models
Every character models positive qualities, including loyalty, compassion, and a sense of humor. Adults guide kids through making decisions and solving problems without discounting how their experiences make them feel. Daniel is gentle, kind, and eager to learn; he learns to deal with his emotions thanks to advice from friends and family. Some characters are anthropomorphic animals; others are human with varying skin tones -- all are treated with dignity and respect.
Violence & Scariness
This special speaks to the fears many children have about everyday dangers (lightning, streetcars) as well as germs and contagion in a pandemic era. Viewers will be comforted by the idea that there are things they can do to stay safe, like washing their hands, and the message is underlined with visuals such as Daniel shooting a bubble gum at germs and making them fly away.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood: Won't You Sing Along with Me? is a special episode of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood that focuses on Daniel's difficulty with sheltering in place during an outbreak of an unnamed illness (COVID-19 is not mentioned by name). This special speaks to the fears and frustrations children have during this time, such as worries about infection and the difficult of staying home without seeing friends or family. It also addresses more ordinary fears like thunderstorms and fast-moving streetcars, illustrating in songs and visuals that kids can ask questions about what's going on, and do many things to stay safe (including washing hands and spending time at home with their family). Preschoolers are encouraged to think critically about current problems and are offered positive examples of ways to cope. Characters model positive ways to handle challenges, and offer empathy for the young kids and others struggling during this time. Communication, teamwork, curiosity, and compassion are also themes.
Is It Any Good?
Parents don't always know how to explain the COVID-19 pandemic to their kids, but this lovely, thoughtful animated special can help. Daniel is miserable when he finds out that not only won't there be a neighborhood carnival this year, he also can't have any of his friends over or visit their homes. The reason, his mom and dad gently explain, is that everyone must stay home in order to stop the spread of germs (the flu, and COVID-19, are never mentioned by names). That makes Daniel feel sad and frustrated, and he's not alone. Mom and Dad are sad too, and no one knows exactly when this will be over. But as sweet, simple songs remind Daniel and viewers, grownups are there to take care of you, and kids can ask questions about what's going on and follow the adults' plans to be safe. Visuals spell out all the ways that kids can help, including coughing into their elbows, sneezing into a tissue, and washing their hands carefully.
Daniel also struggles when Dad works from home, but doesn't have time to play with Daniel. Again, a song comes to the rescue as Dad reminds Daniel that one of the best ways to be a helper is to find something to play with or work on independently when a grownup is busy. Daniel could draw a picture, hug his stuffed animal, or send a letter in the mail to someone he misses. He can also spend time with his family, taking walks, doing arts and crafts, and making music together. Daniel's take-away message in Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood: Won't You Sing Along with Me?: "Things have been different, and that makes me feel a lot of feelings. But being with my family and asking questions makes it a little better." This gentle animated show may make kids feel a little better, too, and that's worth something.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.