A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Baby-Sitters Club centers on a group of mature, caring, organized tweens who run a successful business and always have each other's backs in work and play. The stories tread lightly on issues such as dating, peer pressure, and self-esteem, always with empowering messages about the bonds of friendship and personal strength. Based on books by Ann M. Martin, this early-'90s TV series shows its age in the characters' outfits and hair styles as well as some pretty cheesy acting, but that doesn't tarnish the quality content and kid-friendly lessons.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In THE BABY-SITTERS CLUB, a group of friends runs a baby-sitting service in their hometown, divvying up assignments during their weekly club meetings and collaborating on ideas to better fulfill the needs of their young charges and their parent customers. When they're not running a successful business, the seven tweens attend middle school, balance extracurricular activities, and cope with the usual trials of preteen life, including relating to boys and coping with snooty social nemeses. But, through it all, they can always count on the support of their best friends to get them through the rough patches.
Is it any good?
This '90s-set series is a far cry from the glitzy tween-geared shows of today, and, although it's probably a hard sell for kids because of its, um, vintage feel, its wholesome messages are, in some ways, a welcome change from some of what's out there today. These tweens aren't interested in fashion trends, celebrities, or texting; theirs is a world of slumber parties, ice cream feasts, and making a difference in their community. What's more, they're not immune to the pull of the opposite sex, but, on the whole, their interest in boys is driven more by friendship than it is by more suggestive motivations.
There's always something to be discussed at the end of each Baby-Sitters Club episode, and kids would be hard-pressed to miss the great things the show has to say about the power of friendship and the beauty of individuality. Taken a bit farther, yours will see mature examples of basic business smarts in how the girls run their business, allocate funds, and relate to their customers, both big and small. This characters show a lot of examples of responsible caretaking and creative problem-solving, both in dealing with the kids in their charge and, more often, with each other's needs.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how this series stacks up to today's shows. Do the stories hold your attention? Can you relate to the characters' issues? How does it reflect the time in which it was made? Does its age make the messages any less powerful?
Kids: What are your biggest challenges in dealing with peers and friends? Are there any who cause you grief? To whom do you turn for support? Have you ever succumbed to peer pressure or hurt a friend's feelings? What did you do to right the wrong?
These characters sell a solid service and run a competent business. How does their close friendship help in their business endeavors? How does each person's unique talents play a role in the club's success? Kids: Do you have ideas for a product or a service of your own? How would you market it?
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