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Dora the Explorer (2000)
Great role model
I am shocked by the number of bad reviews. Dora is an excellent role model as well as all the other characters on the show. Let's start with Swiper the Fox since many of the reviews demonize him. First, he will try to steal (swipe) something from someone but Dora says, "Swiper no swiping" so he will snap his fingers, say "Aww, man" and leave. Compared to other depictions of thieves (being scared and letting them steal), Dora stays calm and faces the situation head-on. My oldest is almost three which is when fear starts manifesting. She says randomly, "Swiper's going to get me!" I tell her that she needs to tell Swiper no swiping which she does and then she's confident that she's safe. I'm sure the generic "monsters" are coming next. But she will have the confidence to handle them, too. I like that just by telling Swiper not to steal he actually listens (another quality I want my kids needs to learn).
I like the songs. They are short and are easy to learn. I like that the plot follows the same pattern. Kids love and need repetition. If you've ever read anything or even watched something by a child expert (I'm thinking SuperNanny) they will all tell you that kids like consistency. This show is geared toward preschoolers, not middle schoolers. At that age, kids don't need complicated plots. There's a structure to the show which my kids are able to follow.
I love that the show is not about conflict but about adventures. In the book NurtureShock, by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, they talk about when kids watch a show about bullying the show spends 20 minutes showing a bully being mean to kids and the last few minutes resolving the problem. Sounds great, right? No because kids have spent 20 minutes learning how to be a bully and that's the message they are absorbing. I don't let my kids watch Spongebob because the "jokes" they say are not things I want my kids repeating. Dora and her friends go on adventures and help others. That's what I want my kids to have: a sense of adventure, a sense of compassion and confidence to handle anything.