Best shows to watch as a family

I've mentioned this before, but we're a little Amish about tv shows in our house. It's not that I'm a total pearl-clutcher about today's tv programming . . . but I'm just not a fan of the over-the-top sarcasm, eye-rolling, and parental disrespect that seems so prevalent in the tv shows geared for kids. We've outgrown Doc McStuffins and Jake and the Neverland Pirates, but we're not quite ready for the tween fare. (A few too many episodes of Jessie and Karis was starting to end every sentence with, HELLO?!?!  Um, no, five-year-old. NO.) 

We've had to get a little creative in finding shows that all four of our kids are interested in watching together, that we also feel good about them watching. Here are a few of our current favorites.

Little House on the Prarie

I loved this show as a kid and now my kids are smitten - even the boys! There is enough drama in each episode to keep them totally interested, and the moral lessons are amazing. This show sparks some great conversation and it's our current family favorite.

The Pioneer Woman

My kids are also totally obsessed with Pioneer Woman. Especially Kembe, who has dubbed himself Pioneer Man. This show keeps their interest because the cooking is interspersed with scenes from family life on a ranch in Oklahoma. 

The Cosby Show

A couple weeks ago Mark found one of Bill Cosby's old comedy routines on Spotify (the one with chocolate cake) and now my kids want to listen to it on repeat in the car. So when we told them there was a family show where Bill Cosby was the dad, they were thrilled. Another favorite from my own childhood that totally stands the test of time, and that teaches great family values.

American Idol

This show made a concerted effort to be more family-friendly this year and we're enjoying the results. My kids love music and really get into rooting for their favorite singer.

How It's Made

This is a really great educational show that's heavy on science. 

Master Chef Junior

I don't think my kids have ever been more emotionally invested in the outcome of a show than they were with this cooking competition for kid chefs. There may have been tears involved. I can't wait for the junior version to come back on. Bonus: it inspired my kids to want to help out in the kitchen.

So You Think You Can Dance

Okay, this one is really MY favorite show but my kids enjoy it, too. I love the creativity and the diversity.

Parts Unknown

This is such a fascinating show for understanding different parts of the world. Anthony Bourdain travels to exotic locations to try the local food, but he also dives into different cultural aspects of the places he visits. There is a social justice slant as well, from interviewing LGBT women in Russia about discrimination to visiting the home of a Palestinian married to an Israeli. He doesn't shy away from politics, and while he can be a bit spicy and hedonistic, I'd much prefer that over tween sass.

Cupcake Wars

Cupcakes. Pretty cupcakes. What's not to like?

Do you have any shows you watch as a family that are outside the usual suspects?

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