I am very selective about what TV shows the kids watch. This is one area of my "parenting life" that I think is easy...and by easy I mean that I have complete control. With pretty much everything else I can teach them until I am blue, but THEY control if they will do what is right. With TV I control what they will watch (by using Kids On Demand, DVR or DVDs) and how long they will watch (1, maybe 2 if the weather is bad, 30 min shows per day). If they bring up some sassy or violent show they have heard about somewhere else I just simply say..."Nope. Our family doesn't watch shows like that. Your choices today are...blah, blah, blah. We don't have to watch a show if you don't like the choices?" Works every time.
I have "go-tos" on Kids On Demand (Bobby's World, The Berenstain Bears, Olivia, Wonderpets) or I DVR shows that I would think they would like (Leave it to Beaver, Andy Griffith, The Adventures of Black Beauty). We also have DVDs of shows like Lassie and Veggie Tales.
My selections generally have animals, adventure and a lesson of some sort and I'm always trying to add shows into the mix. I don't really do "learning shows" as much as shows that teach a lesson ("moral shows?").
When we were in Charleston a few weekends ago we had the hotel TV on a channel that was showing Flipper (Not the one-hour Flipper...It is AWFUL. The 30 min. one with Sandy and Bud). I was thrilled!...I get really excited to add shows to our rotation. It gives the kids some variety and choice.
The last two weeks they have been choosing Flipper as their choice every day. I think he's our summer Lassie! The shows I pick work well for both boys and girls, but honestly--with boats, planes, alligators, rescue missions, dolphins, Coast Guard, etc.---for a little boy it doesn't get much better than Flipper.