Raising kids is hard work. Where did you learn how to do it? Your parents? The Bible? Parenting books? Those are great, but here’s an answer you probably didn’t see coming: cartoon dogs. You heard me right. I’ve learned some vital parenting lessons from Bluey.
Bluey is an Australian TV show geared towards kids. The main characters are a family of Blue Heeler dogs: Bandit (dad), Chilli (mum), Bluey (big sister), and Bingo (little sister). Our family loves Bluey! I was just as excited as our 3-year-old when Season 2 came out on Disney+.
There are a few reasons why I like Bluey so much. We have two young daughters ourselves. We also have two Blue Heeler dogs! Although I grew up in America, I was born in Australia, and my family moved back there my junior year of high school. #relatable. The show is also hilarious. Tucked away like hidden gems are heartfelt lessons about life, school, play, and family.
Here are my top 5 parenting lessons from Bluey:
1. Let Your Kids Be Kids.
(from Season 1 Episode 14 “Takeaway”)
Bandit and the girls are outside of a takeaway restaurant, waiting for their food to be ready. While Bandit is content to wait patiently, Bluey and Bingo can’t sit still. After the kids get into all kinds of mischief, the server comes out and announces that the food will be five more minutes. She offers the family fortune cookies as consolation. One of the fortune cookies reads, “Flowers may bloom again, but a person never has the chance to be young again.”
Your kids will only be young for so long until they are grown up. It might drive you crazy that they always want to play and touch things they shouldn’t. Remember that they are learning and exploring the world around them. My best memories with my girls are when I stop making arbitrary rules (usually because it would cause me extra work), and I let them play.
2. Wait & See What Happens.
(from Season 1 Episode 11 “Bike”)
Bluey is unsuccessfully learning to ride a bike when she gives up. Three more dogs are trying different activities: Bingo with the water fountain, Bentley with the monkey bars, and Muffin with her backpack. They all can’t do their tasks and give up. Just when Bluey thinks she should go over to help, her dad says, “Let’s just see what happens next.” After a good meltdown, each of the kids gets back up and figures it out.
It can be so tempting as a parent to do everything for your kids. It’s hard to see them struggle or cry. We want to protect them from pain. The truth is that life is full of struggles. If we never experience growing pains, we’ll never grow. Our job as parents is to be there to encourage and support, not to make life easy as possible for our kids.
3. Enter Their World.
(from Season 2 Episode 10 “Rug Island”)
Bandit is on his way to work when his girls beg him to stay. Chilli gives the girls new markers to play with for the day. In a surprising turn of events, the girls use the markers for everything except drawing. They create a whole new world called “Rug Island,” where markers can be anything you imagine them to be. Bandit decides to go to work later and joins the girls in their game. It takes him a while to learn how to play, but eventually, he gets the hang of it.
We can be so concerned with getting kids to play the “right” way. I remember my daughter Lily wanting to play checkers so badly with me. I finally set up the board and tried teaching her the rules. It turns out all she wanted to do was stack the little pieces and pretend they were money. You know what? I had more fun playing the game her way than if I had made her play by the rules.
4. Don’t Rush.
(from Season 2 Episode 12 “Sticky Gecko”)
Chilli is trying to get Bluey and Bingo out the door for a playdate. She uses all of the classic tactics to get the kids to hurry up, but nothing is working. Finally, Chilli sits down on the couch and says they’re not going anymore. After Chilli calms down, she realizes it’s not the end of the world to get out of the house a few minutes behind schedule.
We could learn a lesson from our kids on slowing down. We jam our schedules so packed that we are always on the go. Not that there is never a time to be on time (catching a flight, for example). But when we are always doing things, we miss out on simply being with our kids. Chilli only discovered that Bluey was nervous about her playdate with Judo when she slowed down long enough to listen. We need to practice being present with our kids as well.
5. You’re Doing Great.
(from Season 2 Episode 47 “Baby Race”)
Chilli tells the girls the story of how Bluey learned to walk when she was a baby. Chilli used to go to a mother’s group and compare Bluey to the other babies. At first, Bluey was ahead of the other kids, but eventually, she fell behind in the baby race. Chilli was so discouraged that she skipped going to the mother’s group. Coco’s mom stopped by Bluey’s house and told Chilli precisely what she needed to hear. “You’re doing great.”
Maybe you’ve been caught in the comparison trap before. Every kid is different, and it’s not a race anyway. We all have good moments and bad moments as parents. We pray that God uses the good ones and shows us grace when we fail. In case anyone hasn’t told you this lately, “you’re doing great.”
What’s your favorite kid’s TV show? Do you watch Bluey? Let me know in the comments below!
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