My kids barely know Oscar the Grouch

November 13, 2009

I grew up on Sesame Street. I thought everyone did. When I was my kids’ age (ie under 9), we had three choices of tv, so if we were allowed to watch, we were allowed to watch one of the few kids shows on. And Sesame Street seemed to be a big choice in our house. Did you know that this week, Sesame Street is 40? So it’s been on the air almost as long as I’ve been alive. Geez, I’m old… But I digress.

I learned my numbers and my letters from them. I learned Spanish from them. And my favourite bit

was when the pie man was at the top of the steps to count to 9 and then fell down with all the pies.

But my kids don’t know Sesame Street well at all. They’ve heard of it, they’re mildly familiar with Oscar and Big Bird. But they didn’t grow up watching the show. They watched Dora and Bob the Builder. I’m not saying their current choices are bad (although now they’re into Ben 10 and a bunch of other stuff I like less). But they have so many choices of kids tv, that Sesame Street doesn’t even rate on their radar.

I am told that Sesame Street was started because lots of inner city kids were entering school without a basic knowledge of numbers or letters, and that kids who watched Sesame Street had a head start on kindergarten. It makes sense — it’s a big reason why most of us send our kids to preschool if we can afford to.

But in this day and age (yes, I know I sound like an old curmudgeon!), kids today have too many choices, and Sesame Street just doesn’t cut it for them as much. Which is a shame, since it’s still a great show. And okay, Mr. Hooper died (so sad!), but I hear Gordon and Susan are still there. And I bet Big Bird is still the only one who’s seen Mr. Snuffleupagus. After all, they’re still the people in my neighborhood.