Confession: Bluey is Making Me a Better Mom

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For most of the time that I’ve had kids, I haven’t actually watched kid shows with them. This became abundantly clear when my oldest started refusing peaches, saying she was allergic to them. After spending more time than I’d like to admit trying to figure out how a three-year-old living in quarantine knew about food allergies, one of my friends pointed out that Daniel Tiger was allergic to peaches. I had been caught in my lack of engagement in children’s television. 

Aside from the occasional Disney movie or sporting event, I don’t enjoy TV most of the time, so I usually use screen time as an excuse to get lost in a book or get work done. That all changed when a family of blue heelers appeared on Disney+. These short Bluey episodes have become a mainstay in our household for parents and kids alike. If I’m being honest, I genuinely believe that the parenting lessons learned from this show have made me a better parent.

Growing up, make-believe play was one of my favorite things. I could spend hours playing night games, fort, or any other game we could think up with the kids in my neighborhood. My sister and I even had one memorable game where we clutched onto one another for as long as possible, Titanic-style, on a slide until one of us was released into a moat of hungry alligators. I used to live in one big make-believe world. These days, there’s only so long I can play kitchen or doctor or make-believe with Barbies. While I still live in a world of make-believe in most books I read, this skill of playing make-believe with my kids has not aged like a fine wine.

A few weeks ago, our Friday movie night plans abruptly changed when we saw new Bluey episodes had dropped. Instead, we spent our evening laughing and catching up with the Heelers. We were watching “Wild Girls” when my oldest daughter looked at me and said, “Mom, there are so many new games for us to play from Bluey! We can play Wild Girls and change up the games however we want to like Calypso said. I can’t wait to be able to play Shadowland with you again, but it’s been so cloudy. We can play toilet tag instead!” Maybe I wasn’t as bad at pretend play as I thought.

Most of the make-believe games my children play are inspired by real-life experiences or based on Bluey games. Whether we’re playing Hotel or Keepy Uppy, we always find ways to engage our creativity, kindness, and empathy. They learn to take turns, share ideas, and work together to create fun. I am proud of my children for showing such creativity and kindness in their play, and I am happy to be a part of their playtime. As a result of watching Bluey with my kids, I have realized that I may be a grown-up, but I am still a kid at heart.  

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Kelly DeCrane
Meet Kelly, the reigning chaos coordinator on the northeast side of Indy, where she navigates the adventures of marriage to the ever-patient Steve, corralling two amazingly energetic daughters, and doting on a sweet old pup. Kelly takes on the caffeinated world of school drop-offs before heading home to work as a virtual special education teacher. When not rescuing Barbie dolls or mastering bedtime negotiations, she's a familiar face at the local library, maxing out her library card and possibly attempting to conquer the entire children's section – blame that on the coffee jitters. In the kitchen, she's a culinary wizard, transforming mac 'n' cheese into gourmet magic that her children will of course refuse to ear. You'll often find her with a book in one hand, a cup of coffee in the other, immersed in the enchanting worlds of fiction or grooving to the beats of the early 2000s. Kelly is your go-to gal for laughter, warmth, and a sprinkle of witty chaos. Cheers to the coffee-fueled adventures, the delightful rollercoaster of motherhood, and the incredible journey of being a special education teacher!

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