Let's be honest: Some of your most important parenting moments start with tackling a situation head on and end with you pleading for a little help from your friends. Whether it is a phone call to your BFF or admitting that your mother's advice was spot on (thanks, Mom), parenting is made easier with shared tips, tricks, and helping hands. The same goes for your kid's favorite television show — sometimes they nail the message when it comes to potty training, sharing, or going to school. But what about TV show episodes that encourage your child to try new foods? Yep, they can do that, too.
I will admit, our household is a sucker for Daniel Tiger's easy-to-remember songs and phrases to help our toddler with daily activities and milestones. Whether it's the "flush and wash and be on your way" that we sing as she learns to potty train or "try, try, try" when she's learning a new skill, we are huge fans of that furry-faced youngster.
Curious if one of your kid's favorite television friends can help you with their picky appetite? I've made a list for you because, hey, that's what the sisterhood of motherhood is all about, am I right?
1. 'Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood' — "Daniel Tries A New Food"
My daughter loves Daniel Tiger and that makes this mama happy. Because whether it is an episode about sharing ("you can take a turn and then I'll get it back" is another frequent phrase in our household) or song that helps kids learn that "everyone is big enough to do something," the cuddly tiger nails it in the educational-but-fun department. The same goes for the episode "Daniel Tries A New Food" where Daniel and friends sing, "You can try a little bit of this and a little bit of that ... we've gotta try new foods 'cause they might taste good."
2. 'Sesame Street' — "Food For Thought"
Leave it to a classic like Sesame Street to have a primo option for parents who are looking for a little help with getting their kids to try new foods. When Elmo balks at trying kiwi for the first time, a wedge of cheese sings him a song. "Try it! Try it again and you may like it! And if you find that you don't, try, try again," she tells Elmo. Later in the "Superfoods" episode Cookie Monster says, "Cookie Monster doesn’t only eat cookies. He also likes yummy healthy foods."
3. 'Caillou' — "Food-a-Licious"
In the "Food-a-licious" episode, Caillou makes it known that he dislikes vegetables and doesn't want to eat them — he wants cookies instead. His Grandpa takes a walk with him on the farm to show him the various animals and foods they eat, explaining to him why certain foods are important. During this episode, Caillou also learns to grow carrots, a process that helps encourage him to give them a try.
4. 'StoryBots' — "Food Into Energy"
We recently stumbled upon Ask The StoryBots on Netflix and, while I was initially unsure about the show, it turns out the lessons are pretty solid. With episodes like "How Do Airplanes Fly?" and "Why Do I Have To Brush My Teeth?" my curious daughter was instantly hooked. The show is based on the award-winning educational app which created fun, educational songs like "Food Into Energy." The lyrics hint at their mission to encourage children to try new foods: "Good fresh food is what you need to be strong and healthy as you're growing, and your tummy is like a gas tank that you fill up when you want to get going."
5. 'Arthur' — "D.W. The Picky Eater"
"D.W. the Picky Eater" puts the spotlight on Arthur's younger sister D.W. and her distaste for many foods, including spinach and those from "the smelly fish family." When she remarks that foods are "yucky" and "smelly," her parents tell her she needs to learn to behave better and try new foods. By the end of the episode, D.W. tries a new food — Little Bo Peep pot pie — and learns that she loves it. The secret ingredient? Spinach. To everyone's surprise, D.W. says she loves spinach now.
6. 'Kids Baking Championship'
According to KidsHealth, encouraging children to get in the kitchen can also help with tempting them in try new foods. That's why kid-friendly cooking shows like the Kids Baking Championship might be just the tool you need to pique your child's interest in exploring new foods. Watch the show and then set off to the kitchen to try a copycat recipe — you might be surprised by your little one's enthusiasm!
7. 'The Kids Menu'
If your child is a bit older and finicky about foods, then they might appreciate The Kids Menu, a documentary available on Netflix. The film highlights why healthy eating is important, and features kids and schools making nutritional changes as part of their education. If your child is prone to taking cues from their peers, then this could be the ticket to helping them expand their palate.