Daniel Tiger, What Would Mom Tiger Do?, Parenting Tips from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Fred Rogers


From PBS for Parents.

“What Would Mom Tiger Do?: Parenting Tips from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood

When my daughter was two, she had a Happy Place: a playground bordered by a small stream and towering oak trees. But when it was time to leave, she went to the Mad Place, fast. The screams. The kicks. The tears.

We had recently discovered Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, including an episode where Daniel does NOT want to stop playing. As it happens in every episode, his parents sing him a strategy song.

So one evening at the park, I tried something new. I took a deep breath and broke into song: “It’s almost time to stop, so choose one more thing to do.”

My daughter looked at me with big eyes, and then calmly said, “I choose slide.” That was it. I was stunned.

As we calmly headed toward the car, another mom caught up with me and said, “You watch Daniel Tiger, too? I sing those songs all the time. I seriously think it’s a parenting show disguised as a kids’ show.”

Stop, Go and Breathe

How many of us sing Daniel Tiger songs in clutch parenting moments? And which ones do we sing? In my unscientific poll of a few dozen parents, the overwhelming favorite was the Potty Song: “When you have to go potty, stop and go right away. Flush and wash and be on your way!” (Daniel Tiger’s Stop and Go Potty app is also a helpful tool!)

Multiple parents shared that this song was a “huge help” with potty training their kids. “All my kids, regardless of potty training status have loved that song,” said Caroline. “It’s a good way to remind them to finish the process before going back to play.”

My friend Lacey, a mom of three girls, modified the song to emphasize the all-important “wiping” step of the process: “We sing ‘Wipe, Flush, Wash, and be on your way!’” Several parents admitted to still humming the song long after potty training has ended. “Yeah, that one really sticks with you,” said one parent, sighing.

After the Potty Song, the second most-mentioned song was the Mad Song — which is a beautiful metaphor for the challenges of raising littles. Janalyn told me, “We could not have handled tantrums without ‘when you feel so mad that you want to roar, take a deep breath and count to four.’””

“Building a Parenting Tribe

Last week, I was working on this article in a crowded coffee shop. The woman next to me was showing her two-year-old a Daniel Tiger song on her phone. She looked a bit sheepish as she explained that her son was starting a new preschool and was struggling with separation anxiety. “I’m showing him the ‘Grownups Come Back’ song. Maybe it will help?”

I was grateful for this moment of solidarity with a stranger on a Friday morning, as we shared some of the challenges of raising little ones. Caring for children is emotionally and intellectually challenging, and parents need a strong tribe of support. I am happy to admit that Daniel Tiger — and the brilliant Fred Rogers, who first gave voice to Daniel and some of these strategy songs — is part of my tribe.”

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