By Sierra Filucci, Common Sense Media Common Sense Media editor
My brother and sister are more than a decade younger than me, so they were often running around the living room while I was catching up on Days of Our Lives. Luckily they didn't pay much attention to the travails of Bo and Hope. But most siblings are closer in age, and if one kid is watching TV, the other is sure to join in.
So how do you find shows that mixed-aged kids will enjoy watching, but are still age appropriate for the younger ones? It's a challenge for sure, and families often find themselves pushing the younger sibling into uncomfortable territory -- or subjecting older kids to boring stuff.
There's really no perfect way to do this, but, like a lot of parenting advice, the best stuff often comes from asking around and learning what other parents do.
I turned to our online community, and asked folks on Twitter and Facebook for their faves for bridging the age gap. As usual, Common Sense users had great suggestions for shows that older and younger kids can all enjoy. Using your great picks, plus some of my own favorite titles, I created a list of TV shows I think are great choices for multi-age viewing. Below are some suggestions from our community:
Sue Thotz: Girl 9, boy 6: They love Mythbusters, Merlin, Electric Company, and Shaun the Sheep
Annalise Silivanch: Ages 6 &10: Sponge Bob, Brady Bunch, early Little House, How It's Made, Three Stooges, Shaun the Sheep
Laura Williams Vaughn: Wild Kratts... 10 year old boy and 5 year old girl - both love animals!
Didi Doehle: Girls 5 and 3, love Cat in the Hat, Sesame Street, Curious George (hmmm, PBS is the best!), Handy Manny and Pinkey Dinky Doo
Kyra Ostendorf: 2 boys ages 11& 16: We like How It's Made and nature programs, sports for family TV. They watch SpongeBob, BenTen, classic cartoons
Bryanne Peterson: Sid the Science Kid is big around here! Also Dinosaur Train, Curious George, Clifford, age range 2-8
Gabby D: My kids (age 10 & 1) like watching Phineas & Ferb together!
Please add your own picks in the comments, along with your kids' ages. Tell us what bridges the age gap in your family. And please follow me on Twitter!
About Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media is dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology. We exist because our kids are growing up in a culture that profoundly impacts their physical, social, and emotional well-being. We provide families with the advice and media reviews they need in order to make the best choices for their children. Through our education programs and policy efforts, Common Sense Media empowers parents, educators, and young people to become knowledgeable and responsible digital citizens. For more information, go to:www.commonsense.org.