Children learn from a variety of environments they’re exposed to on a daily basis, including television. For this reason, parents should monitor their children’s viewing habits to make sure the television shows they’re watching are appropriate and educational. Here are some shows that can improve or slow your child’s education.

Sesame Street: Helping Children Develop Since 1969

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Sesame Street has been around for over forty years, educating and entertaining generations of children. Most parents watched it themselves when they were kids, and know that it is a very educational show for their own kids to watch. Your child will learn language, reading, math, and other lifelong skills while enjoying the sights and sounds of the gang on Sesame Street.

Barney: Educational and Basic Thinking Skills

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Before you groan, think about this: Would you rather your child watch a big purple dinosaur that teaches them about friendship and acceptance, or a movie full of guns and violence? Barney may be an annoying show for parents to watch, but it’s a beloved show by dozens of children. Barney teaches math and reading skills, and even hygiene. It’s definitely one of the educational shows you should allow your children to watch.

The Simpsons: Not the Most Educational Program for Kids

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This is probably one of the most famous animated series, certainly the longest-run. Your child may enjoy Bart Simpson’s antics, but they are probably not learning much from it. The Simpsons are great for a good laugh, but definitely not for educating your children. If you have an impressionable child at home still in his early learning years, you may want to think twice about allowing him to watch.

SpongeBob Squarepants: Face-paced Action Leads to Impulsive Behavior

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He may be beloved by children, but SpongeBob Squarepants and other fast-paced cartoons have been known to hinder preschool-aged children’s short-term memory and impulse control. Pediatricians believe that the faster-paced cartoons actually distract kids and lower their attention span.

Dora the Explorer: Slow-paced Stories with Emphasis on Critical Thinking

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In place of the fast-paced cartoons, parents are better off allowing their children to watch shows that are at a slower speed, and also help educate them. Dora is definitely one of those shows. Along with math and music skills, Dora teaches kids Spanish. The younger your child is when she begins to learn a new language, the quicker she will pick it up and remember it.

JoJo’s Circus: Providing a Good Moral Compass

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This show does a wonderful job of teaching and reinforcing good morals and life skills in young children. As well as being entertaining, it’s also interactive, which allows children to learn these values cognitively while watching the show.

Handy Manny: Reinforcing Good Attitude and Positive Behavior

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Handy Manny also teaches important skills to your children, including cooperation, creativity, and an “I can do it” attitude. Throughout the show, kids will see Manny’s hand tools helping him find solutions to his problems, teaching kids how to solve their own problems. The show also routinely uses Spanish, adding a new language to your child’s education.

There are many shows aimed at children, but as you can see, not all of them are good for them. parents should be cautious in what they allow their children to watch, and take an active role in knowing exactly what the shows their children view are about. Check or your television provider for more information on children’s shows.