The realities of parenting in 2021 are such that young kids are probably getting more screen time than ever. In many cases, with parents working from home and virtual schooling, this is inevitable. While there are studies that illustrate the dangers of screen time, it can be a necessity for parents in many cases.
One of the best ways to minimize some of the damaging effects of screen time while also still reaping the benefits of not having your kids screaming in your face is to watch TV with them. The problem is, they probably don’t want to watch 90 Day Fiancé and definitely shouldn’t watch Ozark’s with you. On your side of the equation, let’s be honest; there is only so much Thomas & Friends or Paw Patrol you can handle before you start to go a little crazy.
Luckily, there are some kid-focused shows out there today, especially on Netflix, that are enjoyable for both kids and parents alike. These shows have interesting premises, engaging plots, high-end voice talent, and may even bring back memories of shows you watched growing up. Here are seven shows for kids that adults will enjoy on Netflix.
What’s the Best Streaming Service for Kids?
It’s 2021. How many streaming services do you have? Netflix? Amazon Prime? Disney+? Hulu? Peacock? Apple TV? HBO Max…
This Netflix original series will bring back memories of 90s computer games and game shows for many of the parents who watch it. The show has a serial plotline about the titular hero’s stealing back stolen treasures from the bad guys (V.I.L.E.) while staying one step ahead of the law enforcement (A.C.M.E) agents who think she’s still a common thief.
Carmen is voiced by Jane the Virgin’s Gina Rodriguez and her right-hand-kid, Player, is brought to life by Finn Wolfhard from Stranger Things. It is a well-done show that parents will enjoy and kids will not only find entertaining but will also help teach them about other countries and cultures.
How can this silly Dr. Seuss book make for an entire Netflix series? More importantly, how can that series be awesome for adults to watch? Part of the answer is the incredibly creative story about Sam I Am, Guy (the unnamed narrator from the classic children’s book), and the duo’s misadventures as they try to get a “Chickaraffe” to safety.
The other part of the answer comes down to the incredible star-power of the voice actors. Adam DeVine and Michael Douglas voice the two main characters and Keegan-Michael Key adds the narration. The supporting players are just as great with the likes of Diane Keaton, Ilana Glazer, John Turturro, Tracy Morgan, Daveed Diggs and Billy Eichner lending their talent. Guessing the star behind each character is almost as fun as the show itself.
For parents that were kids of the 80s, it doesn’t get much more nostalgic than He-Man and She-Ra. While a new He-Man, Masters of the Universe: Revelations is on its way to Netflix in 2021 with Kevin Smith at the helm, for now, we have an excellent reboot of She-Ra the Princess of Power to keep us entertained.
The setup for the show is pure 80s sci-fi fantasy but the characters are very 2020s. The show features strong female leads and has been recognized and awarded for its LGBTQ representation. Raising a tolerant and accepting generation is important and this is a perfect show to help start your kids down that path.
4. Mia and Me
Mia and Me is a cool visual show that blends live-action and animation. Each episode starts and ends with its live-action characters while the bulk of the show is set in Centopia, the fictional fairy and unicorn-inhabited world that Mia travels to through her magical book. The plot in the “real world” is a little scattered through the seasons but the serial quest in the fictional world is solid.
Mia is played and voiced by Rosabell Laurenti Sellers, best known as one of the Sand Snakes in Game of Thrones, in the first two seasons before being replaced by another actress. This substitution makes the third season a little weird but don’t let that discourage you from watching at least the first two with your young one.
This early 2000s show that originally ran on Kids’ WB is a nostalgic update of the classic Scooby-Doo shows with the iconic Casey Kasem as Shaggy. It involves slapstick monsters, goofy Scooby and Shaggy plots, huge sandwiches, and the famous, “… if it wasn’t for you meddling kids!” line at the end of each episode.
Just make sure not to confuse this with Cartoon Network’s 2010 adaptation, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, which is also on Netflix. This later version of the show has more mature themes and is a little scarier than the earlier reboot. Save that version for the older kids.
One of the few Disney Channel shows left that hasn’t migrated to Disney +, Bunk’d is a live-action show that is fun for the whole family and will be an enjoyable watch for adults who aren’t into the animated shows. The show is a spin-off of the popular show Jessie and follows a group of kids from varying backgrounds during their stay at the over-the-top summer camp, Camp Kikiwaka.
There is some mild gross-out humor and very chaste romantic relationships so it might be better for slightly older kids but it is an enjoyable, silly, fun show overall. Also, both you and your kids will be singing the catchy theme song long after you turn off the TV.
This show originally comes to us from Canada and is another live-action kids’ sitcom that animation-overloaded parents can enjoy. The premise revolves around a kid who becomes the owner of a toy company (with a working roller coaster in the office!) and gets to hire other kids to help create fantastical toys.
It is basically every young kid’s idea of what adult work should be like. The plots are goofy but the toy inventions are imaginative and should help stoke the creativity of your child or maybe even your inner-child.