Preschooler and toddler television programming is quite obviously not meant for adults. Its meant to teach kids moral lessons in friendship, telling the truth, learning... etc. Unfortunately, as a parent you can only quietly sneak away so many times while the kids are watching TV. Often its a nice chance to sit quietly with them as the zone out on the so called Boob Tube. The unfortunate side effect is that you actually start to watch the shows too. Which is fine when your oldest first starts watching TV since its still a novelty, but by the time that child is nearly four years old you start to get a little batty from watching their shows. Especially since you've had to give up all hope of watching any daytime TV shows that you used to be able to watch. Of course one of the main reasons I don't watch my TV with the kids is that I don't think the content is suitable to preschoolers and toddlers. Even if the show itself is okay quite often the commercials are not and any news breaks or what ever else there may be is also a little scary for kids.
One of the ways that I protect my sanity while watching their shows daily is by reading my own books at this time. Of course, often that just means I'm re-reading the same page 10 times while paying more attention to the animated talking animals on whatever program is on at the time. I find myself wondering about these shows. I mean often all the animals are different species... what kind of future do they have together they can't marry and mate... or can they? Turtle mates with a beaver?? um no I don't think so. Or how about how they choose which animals are portrayed as female or male?? In two shows that my son watches regularly there are female characters that are beavers. In one of the shows with mixed species characters all of the cats are females. Hmm kinda makes you wonder doesn't it. Okay I know that most of these shows are written by people who have advanced degrees in child development and have a lot of letters behind their names. I know that they must have good reasoning for the different character assignments, but I'm still immature enough that it makes me giggle.
The most important thing about watching your kids shows with them is never to let them know which shows you hate! Seriously, this is the MOST important part. If you indicate that you do not like a particular show it will all of a sudden become their favourite show ever! I once tried to prevent my son from watching a show that had a large purple dinosaur (and a really annoying theme song) and there were tears... "but Mom, he's a nice dinosaur". Instantly I was the mean mom who wouldn't let him watch a semi-decent show that taught kids about caring and sharing. Sigh.
A final comment on kids shows is that no matter how hard you try, you will end up with their theme songs stuck in your head and it will be really annoying and impossible to get said song out of your head. Luckily there are lots of other parents out there to commiserate with (or get a different song stuck in your head).