Oct 7, 2014

Doc-tober on Disney Junior. Promoting health and wellbeing for children with technology.

This post is sponsored by Disney Junior and Nuffnang

I grew up watching Disney cartoons every Sunday morning. I remember my brothers and I waking at the crack of dawn to sneak into the lounge and watch hours of glorious cartoons before our parents woke up. (I also distinctly remember waking our parents in a panic one weekend morning when we discovered the cartoons were missing! Turns out that it was daylight saving time and actually around 4-5am. haha. It's funny the memories we hold on to.) 
Watching cartoons is a child's right to passage and these days, Disney Junior have developed the kind of characters and messages that make cartoons for preschoolers something more than just entertainment. They are a resource that parents and teachers can use to help teach and reinforce the important life, health and wellbeing messages that we are continually trying to get across.

Choosing the right shows for your children

When it comes to my children watching television and participating in screen-time through different technological mediums such as computer, tablets, smart phones, etc., I am very careful to ensure that I am monitoring what my children are exposed to and for how long. These days, I've found that there are so many shows aimed at kids out there that are full of language, actions and messages that I find unnecessary (and sometimes completely inappropriate) for my children to be watching. If they are going to be sitting there, staring at a screen, then I would like that time to still be of some benefit to them and their overall education, health and wellbeing. This means that the shows we actually watch are pretty limited. I pre-record television shows as I don't think children need to sit through ads and we watch shows that tend to promote and reinforce the messages, values and lessons learnt at home.

Disney Junior is the #1 Preschool Subscription TV channel that brings Magical Storytelling into the homes of young children, through engaging stories and endearing characters. The thing that I love the most about the Disney Junior characters is the way that they have been designed to deliver stories of generosity, teamwork and kindness to others. They are written and delivered in a way that promotes health and wellbeing for younger children.

I have found, as a teacher and a parent, that it is often when children see and hear the same messages and lessons they've heard from their parents/caregivers, delivered by others (ie. teachers, relatives, friends, television shows, games), that really reinforces and drives the message home. And, as children can be very influenced by what they see on television, it's important we're choosing shows that include the same values that we aim for and share the same messages we are teaching.

Disney Junior's "Doc-Tober"

For the month of October, Disney Junior are running Doc-Tober where they are showcasing the loveable Doc McStuffins character and all her toy friends through new episodes on the Disney Junior TV channel (including the introduction of Doc's new mobile clinic, the Doc-Mobile) as well as new Doc games and activities on

Doc McStuffins is a 6 year-old girl who wants to be a doctor just like her Mother. She has a magical stethoscope that brings toys to life and she treats and cares for toys out of her backyard clinic and the new Doc-Mobile.
My kids really enjoy watching the show and I love that as well as each episode being full of good advice for children, they each have their own overlying message that is woven into each episode. Themes covered include important reminders for children's health and wellbeing such as always wearing your seatbelt or why it's important to get enough sleep. The series has also inspired a lot of role play in our house.

Maddie (aged 5) and I checked out the Disney Junior website and she enjoyed a turn playing the new Doc Mobile games available for this month. To see them in full and have access to all the features, be sure to view via your laptop or desktop computer.

As well as developing her fine motor skills, reflexes, computer skills and problem solving, the games delivered important messages such as;

"It's important to exercise everyday to stay strong and flexible"

"Staying hydrated will help you be healthy and feel great"

"Remember to get plenty of rest so that you can recharge your energy"

These were delivered in a fun and engaging way for children and in context that they could understand and relate to their own life. This is how children learn best. It is great to play games that challenge children but also allow them to feel success.

In addition to the games there are also partial episodes available for you to watch online as well as a range of colouring sheets and activities such as the Well-being Chart shown above.

How to access Disney Junior

The shows are all accessible via Foxtel and Fetch (neither of which we currently have at our house) with Disney Junior's core TV Shows, Sofia the First, (we made princess cone hats and hosted a princess tea party while learning all about good manners thanks to Sofia the First), Jake and the Never Land Pirates and Doc McStuffins shown on free-to-air TV in Australia on Ch 7 (Sunday mornings 6-7am) and 7mate (Tues-Fri morning 7-9am).

You can also purchase DVDs of the shows, access via itunes and check out the Disney Junior website.

Do your children watch any of the Disney Junior shows? Which are their favourites?

Debs :)

{Disclosure: this is a paid post for Disney Junior sponsored by Nuffnang.  We were sent a Doc McStuffins DVD. As always, opinions expressed in this post are my own and my children's.}

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