Do you remember Daniel Tiger from Mr. Roger's Neighborhood? This show is an animated Mr. Rogers takeoff that is set in the the make-believe world Mr. Roger's trolley used to travel to. It features Prince Tuesday and Mr. McFeely and X the Owl and the whole cast. Daniel even puts on a sweater and tennis shoes while singing, "Won't you be my neighbor?" during the opening credits. The show is soft and sweet and repetitive, like any good show for toddlers should be. But my favorite part are the "strategy songs."
Here's an example of a useful strategy song. You know how you're always struggling to get a toddler to stop doing one thing and start another? Time to stop playing and get ready for bed. Time to stop swinging and come inside. Daniel Tiger's friends have this same problem. When it happens, their parent sings,
"It's almost time to stop,
so choose one more thing to do."
The little creature chooses to go down the slide once more or reads one more book. Then the parent sings,
"That was fun but now it's done."
(For a video of this song, go here, then scroll down to the item called "It's time for bed.")
I love having this in my toolbox for Betsy. Sometimes I sing the first part, "It's almost time to stop..." and a few minutes later, with no more prompting, she sings the second part, "That was fun but now it's done." In fact, throughout the day Betsy sings herself little cues from Daniel Tiger. Things like--
"Stop and listen to stay safe."
"Use your words and tell me how you feel."
"If you can't do it alone, work together."
"Say 'I'm sorry,' it's the first step. Then 'Can I help?'"
"Eat breakfast, brush teeth, put on shoes, then off to school!"
"Making something is one way of saying 'I love you.'"
"Do something nice for your neighbor. Do something nice for your friend."
The kids have even caught on to the magic of Daniel Tiger's jingles. When Betsy is struggling with something, they'll say, "Is there a Daniel Tiger song for this?" And often, there is.
Apparently Mr. Rogers is a gift who keeps on giving. If you've never fully appreciated Mr. Rogers, watch this, where his sincerityand guilelessness basically conquer the Senate.