Welcome to Playful Families’ brand new series: ‘Life Lessons from a Cartoon Dog.’
If you are in Australia and you have children younger than 5, chances are you have seen the one-of-a-kind show BLUEY.
Featuring two seasons of 7-minute episodes, the show is about a family of heelers with two energetic and imaginative children (ahem…puppies).
The best thing about this show, especially for Aussies, is that it is an awesome depiction of modern family life.
Every episode contains a bundle of constructive parenting messages and is something we feel very aligned to here at Playful Families!
This series will focus on the simple ways you can enjoy spending time with your littles (without having to DO MORE) and will showcase these ‘life lessons’ in the context of the one and only Heeler Family.
And yep – it may be a 7 minute cartoon, but the life lessons are more profound than you may think.
(Side note – here’s a TV show you do NOT need to feel guilty about your kiddo’s watching!)
Wackadoo – let’s go!
Want to play at home? Check out Bluey’s episode 42, ‘Bin Night’, and let me know YOUR life lessons!
Life Lesson One: Family Contributions are good for our kids (and our relationship with them)
Let’s be real. ‘Chores’ are aptly named.
They’re boring. They’re repetitive.
But the thing about them?
They need to be done in order for a household to run.
In the one with the bin night, Bandit (the dad) makes a job that needs doing regularly (aka taking out the bins) FUN.
The kids actually look forward to doing it and it transforms something boring into an opportunity for connection and FUN.
Making something fun literally helps children remember and actually look forward to doing it again.
It will also be one of ‘those things’ that you children remember as they move through their life into adulthood and one of those things that you look fondly back on when your children are grown up.
Bandit is creating a ritual with his girls that is setting the foundation for initiating conversation about what’s going on in their lives. (More about this next).
Life Lesson Two: Repetition is key
We live in such a fast paced world where everything comes instantly.
We want to get fit quickly.
Teach our kids something and have them get it STRAIGHT AWAY. (ahhhh shoelaces.)
But the thing is, our little people’s brains are wired to learn through repetition.
Repeating something over and over again – in this case, taking the bin out together, the bin playfully ‘eating’ the rubbish that the Heelers put in, chatting kindly to the neighbour, asking questions about their day – literally helps build brains.
Bandit is also creating a ritual with his girls that is setting the foundation for initiating conversation about what’s going on in their lives.
The girls expect him to ask about their day, and are eagerly waiting to tell him all about what’s going on – and how they’ve solved any problems that have come up.
Life Lesson Three: The words we use become our children’s inner voice
What we say to our children can help (or hinder) the formation of their identity.
When Bingo is feeling sad about her ‘stubby arms’ after a little boy in her class has made fun of her for not being able to use the monkey bars, Chilli Heeler (the mum) changes her internal narrative with a simple, direct statement: ‘We’re Heelers. We’re a bit stubby! But we’re tough.’
She doesn’t focus on judging the little boy (she knows she can’t control how other children behave).
Instead, she empowers Bingo with clear, direct words to influence how she feels about herself – regardless of what others say.
It encourages her to persist with something the next time she tries it. ‘I can hang on the monkey bars longer than anyone else.’ Bingo
The words we use to describe our children – and their behaviour- is the language they’ll use to describe themselves.
Being mindful of how our children hear us describe them can literally affect how they feel about themselves and how they approach challenges in their world.
If they always hear that they’re ‘not a runner’, ‘a waterbaby’, ‘the naughty one’…then they will live up to those expectations and learn to speak to themselves the way others speak about them.
Life Lesson Four: Kids are more capable than we think
(And take in more about the world than we realise.)
At the end of this episode, the Heelers are deciding if it is a two bin day or one bin day.
Bluey chimes in, saying it is one bin with her explanation:
‘It’s only red bin tonight. It’s only both bins when the moon is big, half moon or no moon. And tonight is not any of them. Look! It is a smiley moon. That’s my favourite!’
So often as parents, we think we need to consciously teach our children things about the world.
Colours, numbers, letters.
But our children are like sponges and take in SO MUCH MORE than we realise.
When we are too controlling, underestimate their games or abilities or provide limiting ‘activities’, we are robbing them of the opportunity to leverage their insatiable drive to learn about the world around them.
And there you have it!
I’d love to know your life lessons from this episode!
Tag me over on Instagram 🙂
There are a number of other things that I haven’t touched on from this 7 minute episode (how kind the heelers are to their neighbours, how they listened without judgement to what their kids were telling them, how they got down on their level when speaking to them…) but we’ll unpack some more life lessons from the best kids show on earth in the next blog of the series!
Take the Heeler’s Life Lessons home to your family
Reflect on these questions – you may find yourself already doing many of these things!
1. What does YOUR family do on a regular basis that opens up a channel of communication with your kids?
2. Do you use certain phrases in front of your children to describe them? Eg. the ‘naughty’ one, ‘active one’ etc? Consider: do these serve your children? Will these help them to be the best version of themselves?
Find out how to ditch the ‘shoulds’ of unicorn parenting, build more joy and connection with your little ones, and have fun doing it!