No matter how much I love them, I need something to help calm them down after a long period of being cooped up in the house and fed lots of sweets. Because of our Netflix subscription, we have access to tens of thousands of children’s shows that keep us entertained and happy in our tiny abode. Old Leap Frog specials and Cocomelon and Pocoyo TV shows have come in handy countless times in my house, as well.
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My four-year-old daughter, who claims she is too old to take naps, still needs some downtime in the early afternoon to avoid a major meltdown at dinner time, finds these types of shows to be especially beneficial for her. For those parents who are like me and can’t leave their kids at their grandparents’ house because they’re too restless, here are ten Netflix shows to keep them occupied while you’re away.
To make matters even more complicated, I’m not allowing my children to go down the real YouTube rabbit hole after the Mickey Mouse kidnapping video incident, so I knew they’d love Cocomelon when it premiered on Netflix in June 2020. When I went to start the first episode, I saw that they had already watched two-and-a-half of the three available episodes. I was all excited to introduce those little ones to some great sing-along action.
No matter how long it’s been available on streaming services, Cocomelon has become a go-to method for kids who have had too much sugar and excitement but not enough sleep, thanks to its popularity. To my children and to myself: There’s something soothing about these songs with the gentle voices and slightly slowed-down animation. It captures their attention and helps the rest of us unwind.
2. Little Baby Bum
Our family became obsessed with the Little Baby Bum collection of nursery rhymes and other songs some time in the last few years, and they’ve been a constant presence in our home ever since. It’s to the point where he’ll wake up in the morning insisting on watching one of these videos because he’s so fascinated by them.
My protective gear comes out when my son has been running around like a maniac for the majority of the day, hasn’t napped, and is otherwise acting like a ticking time bomb. My son usually falls asleep on the couch as soon as the first few notes start playing on the speakers. Songs help calm him down, but they also teach him how to count and pick up a beat.
A young boy and a few other characters embark on numerous adventures in a white void in the Spanish-British animated series Pocoyo, and it’s easy to see why. Stephen Fry, a British comedian, narrates the show’s English version, in which the boy has a lot of fun playing with a pink elephant. In each Netflix episode, there are at least three distinct sections, each with a different focus, and they’re all a lot of fun.
While it lacks the calming music of other shows on this list, Pocoyo still helps my kids wind down in the late afternoon or early evening when they need something to do so. Because the humor and enjoyment of the show do not depend on understanding language, it is great for kids of all ages (as are some of the other shows listed later on this list). Put it on and enjoy the sluggish chuckles from the next room.
The animated Korean series Larva, which follows the day-to-day lives of two larva as objects randomly drop into their home, which happens to be a gutter, is one of my family’s favorite Netflix kid shows right now. My mother-in-law stumbled across the show one day and immediately began watching it with my two children. I was curious because I kept hearing laughter (and no fighting) coming from the living room. They were all huddled together on the couch, engrossed in the show.
As a result, Larva has proven to be an invaluable resource for me and my children time and time again. Instead of using dialogue, the show relies on physical comedy to tell its many short stories. We’ve just finished watching the first three seasons of the show, and since discovering the spin-off Larva Island and the movie that goes along with it, we’ll be occupied for some time.
When discussing nonverbal physical comedy, it’s only appropriate to bring up Netflix’s delightful Booba show, which is currently available to stream. Following Booba, a strange creature who appears to be a cross between a child and an elderly man, the show explores the wonders he discovers along the way and grows fond of them. Booba is fascinated by the smallest things, as evidenced by the show’s many episodes set in kitchens, bathrooms, nurseries, and offices.
Booba’s episodes move at a leisurely pace, making it ideal for parents trying to keep their kids from bouncing off the walls for 20 minutes straight. Netflix also has the advantage of autoplaying episodes, allowing you to relax or even catch up on the shambles the little demons have created.
6. Oscar’s Oasis
Non-verbal comedy replaces songs and dialogue in the classic Oscar’s Oasis, which I watched before I had kids on Netflix. One episode of the French-Korean computer-generated series follows Oscar the gecko, who gets up to all kinds of mischief in a vast desert. Because of my trepidation, I didn’t know how my children would react.
Small sections of each episode tell a story while also keeping your kids engaged and teaching them to relax, all at the same time. It’ll be easy to get your kids to sit down and enjoy this amusing little series if they’re as animal-obsessed as mine are.
7. Llama Llama
Llama Llama, a Netflix animated series, is one of those shows you say you’ll never watch but end up watching every episode of in a month. Seriously, when my nieces and nephews visit, they love watching the show about a llama named Llama. The kids are crazy about it, so it must have a cult-like following at local preschools and daycares.
Llama Llama not only lives up to the hype, but it also teaches valuable lessons about sharing, caring, and even the value of rest. When I hand my daughter the iPad, she immediately falls into a deep state of relaxation, with the same show playing over and over. I don’t know what else to call it if that wasn’t a smash.
8. Ask The StoryBots
The Ask the StoryBots podcast is a great option for parents looking for a fun show that’s also educational for their children. It not only has great animation, stories, and guests such as John Legend and Snoop Dogg, but it also teaches kids about the day/night cycle, computers, volcanoes and even music in the Netflix original series.
Ask the StoryBots is a great way to explain how things work to my two-year-old son, who, like all two-year-olds, is constantly asking “why?” about everything I tell him. There are also songs interspersed throughout, which appeals to all three of my children. It even helps me, the most agitated member of my family, to unwind on occasion.
9. Leap Frog: Read-Along, Sing-Along
To keep your kids entertained while they’re stuck at home, Netflix will be airing three specials from educational software company Leap Frog in the spring of 2020, including the Sing-Along, Read-Along program. This educational program from 2011 does the job admirably with the help of a funk band dedicated to having a good time while also helping young learners improve their verbal language skills.
In contrast to my daughter, my son isn’t overly fond of Leap Frog: Read-along, Sing-along. I simply set it up on the iPad and send her off into a funky musical learning environment.
10. Number Blocks
Then there’s Number Blocks, an animated series in which a different number gets into mischief on its journey. Twenty five-minute episodes are available for your enjoyment, and because they are so short, you can finish the series in a few hours. Each episode not only aids children in their understanding of numbers, but it also features a number of infectious songs that will stick in your head for days.
Older children may not be amused for long, but if you show this to children under the age of four, your house will be quiet in no time. Just remember to keep track of the passage of time as you anticipate the type of song 13 will deliver.
Hope this is enough to occupy your restless children for an hour or two. Good luck! (or days if you find yourself trapped in an endless series of episodes). Do you know anything about these programs, or do you have any suggestions of your own? So, if you’ve got something to contribute, don’t hesitate to do so in the comments section below.