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Most of the time kids’ TV shows are just background noise — something I tune out as long as my daughter is quiet and entertained. But there are sometimes I actually listen and think, “Wow! There’s a good message here,” or “Gosh, this is not really something I want my kid watching over and over again.”

People are always claiming kids are like sponges, soaking up whatever comes into their developing brains. So how can you make what they see on screens work in their favor? I guess the answer is to sit down, watch with them and talk abut what’s happening.

Compassion can be taught so many ways in real life, through sharing and caring for others in need. Stories, however, whether on TV or in books, are great teachers too.

Here are some sample questions that you might ask your child during their favorite shows when trying to teach about compassion.

1. Why is this character angry/happy/sad?

2. Why are those two characters arguing and how can they resolve the problem?

3. Do you think this character shows compassion? (Explain that compassion is feeling another’s pain.)

4. How can this character help another one?

5. What would you do in this situation?

6. Do you think there is a better way to solve this problem?

7. Why doesn’t this character want to join the rest?

8. How do you feel when this character comes on the screen?

9. Why does everyone laugh at this character? Is that OK?

10. Is this character taking care of animals in a nice way?

11. Why do you think this character is called mean/evil?

12. Which character would you want to be your friend?

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