What to Watch for Children: Children whose parents discuss stereotypes are found to express greater acceptance of nontraditional gender roles. Reinforcing equality in your home will only serve your children well as they age — especially if they one day have kids of their own. And TV can help, too. There’s currently a great slate of stereotype-busting shows aimed at toddlers and preschoolers.
The go-to developmental favorites are Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood (available on Amazon!) and Sesame Street (now on HBO). For mixed-gender-yet-equal friend groups, try Super WHY!, The Backyardigans, Little Einsteins, Sid the Science Kid, and Nature Cat.
See strong, inquisitive, and adventurous lead girl characters who rarely worry about their looks on Sarah and Duck, Sheriff Callie’s Wild West, and Ni Hao, Kai Lan. Meanwhile, Disney’s Doc McStuffins ticks all the boxes: It’s about a Black girl who plays doctor to her toys and has a stay-at-home dad, a doctor mom, and an adopted sibling. Not a negative stereotype in sight.
Will watching the occasional episode of Mickey and the Roadster Racers turn my kids into violent abusers as adults? Of course not. But a childhood full of stereotype-laden media that I let go unchallenged may very well set them down that path. So while they’re little, and I still have a say in what they’re exposed to, I’d much rather have them singing along with Daniel Tiger: “In some ways we are different, but in so many ways, we are the same.”