Daniel Tiger has a strategy for coping with pretty much everything life can throw at you. From feeling frustrated to trying new activities, that adorable orange tiger has you covered. It's so easy to learn from him that you can sum up every lesson from Daniel Tiger in one sentence. There is even a song (or two, or three) to go with every lesson — and they're seriously catchy.
Thanks to the practicality of these lessons, it isn't just your kids who can benefit from what Daniel Tiger teaches. I've found myself on more than one occasion picking up what DT has put down in song form. I am not ashamed to admit that "When you're feeling frustrated, take a step back," runs through my head from time to time when I'm about to have a major moment and flip out after my kids have begged me to go to the park for the eighth straight time despite a raging thunderstorm outside, or something equally as ridiculous. Whatever works, right?
These handy sentences sum up some of life's most difficult moments, and thanks to the fact that your kid is likely obsessed with Daniel Tiger already, they'll be able to catch on to some of these strategies sooner rather than later and hopefully be better adults one day because of it.
Let yourself be frustrated for a second, then ask for help.
One of the most annoying things my mom said to me as a kid involved not getting too frustrated when something didn't work out. Ugh. With Daniel Tiger's permission, I'm kicking my mom's advice to the curb and allowing the frustration to sink in for just a moment while I figure out my next step. When I feel so mad I want to roar, I can take a step back and count to four!
Then, once I feel my feelings, I can properly address the situation. As the song says, "When you're feeling frustrated, take a step back and ask for help." Yep, I'll do just that. Thank you very much, dearest Daniel.
Use your words to explain how you feel.
"Are you sad? Are you hungry? Do you need a hug?" Yes, yes, and yes, Daniel Tiger! I am all of those things. You took the words right out of my mouth. Oh, I should say them? Oh. Ok, got it.
This lesson is one that finds its way straight out of Daniel Tiger's mouth and right into my soul every time I hear it: "Most problems can be solved when you use your words, so use your words and say how you feel." Now, if toddlers would just understand and follow this advice, parenting would be a heck of a lot easier.
If you're mad, talk it out. (Then hug it out.)
The lessons learned from the song "It Helps To Say You're Mad" can be effective in so many situations. Your toddler throws a fit, your friend bails on you last minute, your husband leaves his dirty underwear on the bathroom floor right next to the hamper — now, you're mad. So talk it out.
The lyrics not only describe talking about your feelings, but taking time to listening to the other side of things as well: "Talking about your feelings can help you work things out. You can listen to what your friend has to say and tell them why you feel that way."
The same premise applies to the song "You Can Be Mad At Someone You Love." You obviously love your toddler, your BFF, and your hubby, but... "You can be mad at someone you love, but when you're ready, you can give them a hug."
It is okay to feel sad sometimes.
"It's Okay To Feel Sad Sometimes" is one of those songs that everyone needs to listen to at least once in their life. In the song, normal things that make everyone sad have happened to Daniel and friends like grandpa leaving after a visit, or missing mom while at school. The song provides a reassuring reminder that feeling sad is completely okay, and yes, it is even okay to cry.
"It's okay to feel sad and it's okay to cry, but little by little, the sadness will say bye-bye." So. Inspiring. No matter why you're sad, everything will be alright again soon. There is light at the end of the tunnel, y'all!
Take alone time if you need it.
"Sometimes You Want To Be Alone" is the song every mom needs for her kids to listen to. "It's alright to take a break, to be alone, to step away. Find a quiet place to settle down and have some space." Maybe hearing the recommendations from a Daniel Tiger episode will encourage your kids to "grab a book, find a cozy nook" and settle down for a bit when things seem overwhelming.
This doesn't just apply to times when you need to feel your feelings either. Sometimes you want to be alone in the bathroom, in your car for 15 minutes before your kids climb in after school, in your closet eating the hidden Halloween candy — and Daniel Tiger says that's perfectly fine.
Never give up.
"Keep Trying, You'll Get Better" is one of those songs that you can find a million times to sing it throughout the day to your kids. Tying shoes for the first time? "When you can't do something new, keep trying and trying until it works for you" Hard homework assignment? "Try try try try try it again."
The main lesson here is to never give up because eventually you will succeed if you just keep trying. This is also great advice for adults who tend to give up on difficult projects or a hard-to-navigate situation at the first sign of frustration. If you just keep trying, you will likely get better.
Saying you're sorry can make all the difference.
Whether you've done someone wrong or someone you care about it simply having a hard time, saying you're sorry can help someone feel better. It can also help you feel better to apologize if you have made a mistake.
Once you've said you're sorry, Daniel Tiger recommends asking what you can do to help the person you've said sorry to. Following an apology with a helpful action seems to be something that can turn a frown upside down. As the song goes, "Prince Tuesday's crown got really messy, he got so mad it made him frown. So I said I'm sorry how can I help you, and then we cleaned up his royal crown."
Doing new things can be scary, but do them anyway.
When Daniel and friends worry about doing something new for the first time, like getting a haircut or going to the doctor, the adults in their life reassure them that despite feeling scared, new experiences can be exciting and wonderful. Singing a song like "When We Do Something New" when your child isn't so sure about a new adventure can help encourage them to be brave and help them understand that new things don't have to be scary at all.
This is also a great reminder for adults. Are you starting a new job? Is your baby going off to kindergarten? Doing new things can be scary, but do them anyway.
Rest is the best.
In the Daniel Tiger episode where his mom gets sick, Daniel learns about what to do when someone is sick. The main lesson he learns (in addition to the fact that yes, even moms get sick sometimes) is that rest is the best.
The Daniel Tiger song about resting when you're sick, "When You're Sick, Rest Is Best" can actually apply to numerous scenarios that don't have to do with being sick at all. Rest really is the best — when you're tired, when you're overwhelmed, when you're stressed out, and of course, when you're sick.
Always practice empathy and kindness.
In most every situation that seems frustrating or impossible, taking the time to be kind or have empathy for another person is most often the right course of action. Putting yourself in another person's shoes can be hard, no doubt. But as Daniel Tiger says, "Think about how someone else is feeling, maybe you can help them feel better." And when they feel better, you will likely benefit from good feelings in return.
The same goes for kindness. The world could use more kindness, and Daniel Tiger (like Mister Rogers before him) is a huge advocate of this. In the song "You Can Choose To Be Kind" the lyric "Being kind is the right thing to do, being kind to others feels good too," reaffirms that being kind has benefits for both the recipient of kindness and the giver.