People kept telling me to watch ‘Bluey.’ I still was not prepared.
I have a confession to make. I’m 48 years old, my youngest child is in high school and I can’t stop watching “Bluey.”
For the uninitiated, “Bluey” is a kids’ cartoon from Australia aimed at 5 to 7-year-olds. It’s been nearly a decade since my household has seen that demographic, so when people kept telling me I should watch “Bluey,” my reaction was basically, “Yeah, I’ve already done my kiddie show time, thankyouverymuch.”
Then my almost-15-year-old started watching it just to see what the fuss was about. And as I started tuning in, I saw why people love it so much. I figured it was going to be a wholesome show with some good lessons for kids, and it is.
But it’s also laugh-out-loud hilarious.
As I got sucked deeper and deeper down the “Bluey” hole, I also saw why so many adults say the show is healing their inner child. It doesn’t just have good lessons for kids; some episodes are a masterclass in creative, engaged, positive parenting. Now I’m hooked, along with the rest of my family of 40-somethings and young adults. We even have favorite episodes that we rewatch, for goodness sake.
So what is it that makes “Bluey” such a beloved show for all ages?
The kid actors are fantastic. Seriously, so darn funny.
The children who play 6-year-old Bluey, her 4-year-old sister, Bingo, and their various cousins and friends are outstanding. Their voices are cute, but they’re also top notch comedians.
One of my personal favorite bits on the show is when the kids pretend to be grannies. Here’s a clip with Bluey, Bingo and their cousin, Muffin, pretending to be grannies at their neighbor’s yard sale.
It gets even funnier when the “grouchy granny” encounters an actual, real-life grouchy granny who wants to buy the granny mobile and haggles with her. (We’ve watched this episode four times. It only gets funnier.)
The parents teach lessons through imaginative play
The clip below shows how Bandit (Bluey and Bingo’s dad) creatively uses a unicorn puppet to drive home the importance of good manners and personal care habits when Bluey won’t stop chewing with her mouth open.
Using characters that struggle with whatever a kid needs to learn is a great way to help drive home a lesson. And doing it with silliness and creativity makes the learning process both enjoyable and effective.
Also, the parents’ love for each other shines through in the show in adorable ways.
The parents share their own learnings along the way
Bluey episodes are short—the full episode below is less than 7 minutes—and it’s amazing how much they can squeeze into them. Here, Bluey’s mom teaches Bluey not to compare herself to others by sharing her own comparison story from when Bluey was a baby, which also includes a lesson for the parents who may be watching as well. It also tugs right at the heartstrings at the end.
I’m just consistently amazed at how well the show executes on every level.
For folks with positive childhoods, the show is nostalgic and comforting. For those with tough childhoods, the show can feel healing. And for people who raising their own kids, it can be a resource to help them be better parents.
My colleague (and Licensed Clinical Social Worker) Jacalyn Wetzel says she recommends “Bluey” to clients who are having a hard time with parenting.
“When parents of young children mention that they’re struggling with being able to emotionally regulate through their child’s tantrums, outside of talking to them about ways children express unmet needs, I often recommend the cartoon ‘Bluey,'” she says. “Bluey behaves very much like a typical preschooler, which sometimes means she accidentally pushes buttons or does something wrong. The way her parents interact with her in those moments are great examples of acknowledging a child’s emotions and responding with kindness, understanding and age appropriate terms.”
The show includes real-life parenting moments that can be hard to navigate, so she encourages parents to watch how the parents interact with Bluey and Bingo. “Parenting doesn’t come with a handbook but ‘Bluey’ is helping those that maybe didn’t have the best example of it growing up, and that’s special,” she says.
It’s just a near-perfect show in almost every way. There’s even some silly potty humor if that’s your jam. (See what I mean? A little something for everyone.)
You can watch full seasons of “Bluey” on Disney + and find clips and some full episodes the “Bluey” YouTube channel.
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