As a parent of slightly older children (mine are now 11 and 7), when I look back at the early months and years of my kids’ lives, there are some decisions that I still see as extremely important for how our family is structured. The decisions we made about prioritizing sleep, about family dinners, about choosing a school — I’m glad that we spent a lot of time on these.
And then there are many other decisions that I spent time on and, frankly, I wish I could get that time back. For example, the hour looking in the medical literature for papers about the dangers of baby mittens when Penelope was five days old (there were no good papers, FYI). Or the amount of time I spent evaluating baby shampoos for a child who had no hair until the age of 3.
The thing is, though, when you’re in it, you’re in it. Small decisions can loom large, even while the obnoxious parent of older children (me) is like, “Who cares? You just wait…”
So today I want to dive into something that, in the moment, you may obsess over even if I doubt it will haunt your dreams later: Cocomelon.
Cocomelon postdates my children. In service of this post, I watched some, and, wow, I’m sorry for all the rest of you! Although I think I’d probably take it over Caillou.
Many people’s children love Cocomelon. It’s especially appealing for those with very small kids, whose attention is not as often held by television. If you want a break, 30 minutes of Cocomelon absorption (especially in the other room) is pretty special. And yet! Many people saw a viral Instagram story suggesting that Cocomelon was a cause of hyperactivity and other issues in children.
The fact is that there is simply no evidence for this. Even the original post doesn’t have any evidence. It’s just a speculative discussion of the possibility that fast-moving television could have these impacts. Perhaps the most closely linked evidence is from papers like this one, which relate television watching overall to attention issues. But as I’ve talked about many times (here, here), that result is likely due to other differences across families, not to television itself.
Further, even if you did worry about TV overall, there is nothing to malign this particular show. Conclusion: Cocomelon is annoying for most adults. But it isn’t going to ruin your kids.