Parenting

Having Trouble Getting Your Toddlers to Watch a Little TV? Try Truck Tunes!

I won’t be winning any mom-of-the-year awards with this admission, but I’m trying to teach my son to watch TV. I’m so envious of all the other bad moms out there who park their kids in front of the TV so they can get stuff done, or just read a book, or stare into space for a while. Not a long while. Just half an hour or so. I wish I could be a bad mom too. But my son just won’t watch TV!

He’s always very excited at the idea of watching TV, and loves to talk about Daniel Tiger, and Donald Duck, and Mickey Mouse, and Thomas the Tank Engine and all the other terrible characters that I’ve tried to shove down his throat. But after about five minutes of sitting quietly on the couch watching the show (which is just enough time for me to let my guard down and think I’ve actually got a few minutes to myself here), he hops off the couch saying, “Turn off please! What we do next?” and looks at me expectantly until I come up with something. (Watch more TV is apparently not an acceptable answer.)

But then, one day, a friend showed me Truck Tunes and our lives changed forever. It’s the brainchild of Jim Gardner, a dad of truck-obsessed twins. According to his website, iluvtrucks.com, the truck videos he initially got for his kids weren’t holding their interest. “Apparently, from their point of view at the time (they were only two), the production focused too much on people and not enough on trucks,” he tells his readers.

Yes! Oh my gosh, yes! I hadn’t even realized that was the problem with other truck videos we’d tried, but when I read this it made total sense. My son doesn’t want to listen to a bunch of firemen talk about fighting fires, he wants to watch a firetruck drive around. Which seems weird to us grown-ups but is apparently a thing if you’re a toddler.

Each video lasts about three minutes and is about a different truck. Some of the trucks are pretty common like the dump truck or the excavator. But some are more obscure, like the vacuum truck (I’d definitely never heard of that before). And each truck comes with its own original song, usually accompanied by upbeat synthesizer music, the lyrics of which provide detailed information about the truck’s purpose and how it works.

A vacuum truck, in case you were wondering. (Image: YouTube)

A vacuum truck, in case you were wondering.
(Image: YouTube)

A word of warning, though: the songs are incredibly catchy. I’ve had the dump truck one stuck in my head for weeks now. I’ll be at the sink doing dishes, or standing on the platform waiting for the train and realize I’ve been bobbing my head for the last five minutes singing “dump, dump, dump, dump it!  Dump it dump truck, oh dump it!” under my breath. Which is embarrassing, I’ll grant you, but also totally worth it because, guess what, he watches them!

“Watch trucks?” he’ll ask me and climb up onto the couch. All I have to do is search “truck tunes” on youtube, click on the playlist that pops up, and they’ll play one after the other until I tell them to stop.

So if, like me, you’ve got a kid who won’t watch TV but you really wish he would, check out Truck Tunes. And join the ranks of bad moms everywhere who let their kids watch a little TV from time to time to give themselves a break. Which isn’t so bad at all really when you think about it. So rock on, tired moms and kids with short attention spans, rock on.