What to Watch: Shows for the Whole Family

A mom can only handle so much Paw Patrol and Pokémon, amirite? I hate banishing my kids to the playroom TV when they want to watch something that I don’t. Thankfully, now that they’re 7 and 5, my husband and I have been able to find a few shows that we truly enjoy with them.

Cake Boss

We watched Buddy Valastro’s show on TLC when it first came out before we even had kids and fell in love with the family dynamic as well as Buddy’s innovation in creating these larger-than-life cakes. My kids see an example of a big, imperfect family working together to run a business and are blown away by the creative process and final product. Bonus: It’s also gotten them interested in participating in the kitchen. All seasons are available on the TLC app, and it is rumored that new seasons will premiere on Discovery Family in 2020.

We have Buddy’s cookbook, and after a few episodes, my 7-year-old wanted to give his lasagna recipe a shot. He made the whole thing from scratch while I supervised.

Lego Masters

As fellow Lego lovers, our family had been looking forward to this show since we first heard about it. Having just premiered on February 5, this is a new one on Fox. We love the combination of innovation and competition and look forward to seeing the completed projects. We all have different styles, so it’s been fun to see who cheers for which contestants.

Animal & Nature Documentaries

If we can’t agree on what to watch, we always default to these. You really can’t go wrong with an animal show. We first introduced them to the genre with the series If I Were an Animal… on Netflix. Tailored to children, each episode is only 20 minutes; it’s a perfect way to pique their interest without going too deep. Our recent favorite is Netflix’s Night on Earth. This limited series is absolutely beautiful, and I like that the episodes can be viewed in any order. These shows also give them a glimpse of a fascinating world they otherwise might not see and sparks curiosity about nature they aren’t exposed to every day. Other well-done series include The Discovery Channel’s Serengeti (on their app) and BBC’s Planet Earth (available on Netflix).

The Addams Family 

I’m talking old school here. Old school like my parents. As in the 1964 series. I used to watch it on TV Land with my parents after Petticoat Junction and Green Acres. I thought my guys would be turned off by the black and white, but they didn’t even consider it until I explained how TV looked “in the old days.” They were amused to learn that long before The Addams Family of 2019 came this one. There’s just nothing like the original; I think it’s funnier. Check it out it on Amazon Prime.

The InBESTigators

I love a good true crime show, but obviously, I’d be asking for nightmares if I had my kids watching Unsolved Mysteries (which is getting a reboot, by the way). I’m happy to have found an alternative with the Netflix original, The InBESTigators. The show is about four kids who form their own detective agency and their hilarious adventures. It really gets my boys’ imaginations going, and it’s cute when they suddenly turn into curious detectives after watching the show.


If I have to watch kids movies, I want to be entertained, too.

  • Peter Rabbit: I like the accents, it’s pretty, and the mischievous animals are cute. Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway comes out April 3.
  • Trolls: I love the music and the cast: Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake, play characters who make the movie fun to watch. Trolls: World Tour hits theaters April 17.
  • Shrek: There are so many innuendos that are not appropriate for a kids’ movie, but that’s why I love it. The kids don’t catch it, and the adults are cracking up.
  • Disney remakes like Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin: They’re gorgeous to watch, I can sing along, and I enjoy comparing the new ones to the nostalgic classics of my childhood. Plus, I already know what’s going to happen, so if I have to get up to switch the laundry or something, I won’t really miss anything. We just watched The Lion King on Disney+ and were all impressed with the adaptation.

Give these shows a shot, and let me know what you think. What’s on your TV?

Alyson Haggerty
Alyson lives in Metairie with her husband, Patrick, their two boys, and their Morkie, Beignet. After teaching for almost ten years, she left a career in education, earned her BSN, and now works as a pediatric emergency nurse. In her free time, Alyson enjoys flipping furniture, writing, dancing, and painting. She is always looking for a racquetball partner and loves streetcar rides and playing board games with her family. A good cook, she is constantly on a quest to answer the age-old question, “What’s for dinner?” but has thus far been unsuccessful.


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