The importance of Saturday morning cartoons

      (<a href=Kids watching cartoons photo via ShutterStock) " title="shutterstock_155757758" width="1" height="1"/>

    (Kids watching cartoons photo via ShutterStock)

    OK fine, maybe you don’t watch cartoons on Saturday mornings like you once did (are there even still Saturday morning cartoons?) but now that there are so many on-demand streaming services, any day can offer up “Saturday morning cartoon” time. 

    By almost any measure, I had a wonderful childhood. There were vacations, the newest video games and a stay-at-home mom to see me off to school and greet me when I got home at 3 p.m. with a snack. I’ll concede that I probably shouldn’t have been watching soap operas with her every afternoon as a tween, but some of my best childhood memories are of the warm glow of a television screen, a fuzzy blanket and a cast of animated characters ranging from a lasagna-eating cat to a crime-fighting tick. 

    Maybe cartoons played a big role in your youth too, but now you’re all grown-up with a mortgage, a job and a debilitating Candy Crush addiction, so I know you’re thinking you’re too busy for cartoons. 

    I get all that. I do. But you could probably reclaim a few moments each day by logging off Facebook, not waiting in that ridiculously long line at Starbucks every single day of your work week, and maybe cool it with Candy Crush for a little while. Then, as if by magic, you’ll have time to squeeze in an episode of Nature Cat on PBS Kids or Super 4 on Netflix with your kiddos before work and school or at night after dinner and homework.

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    It’s important that you make this time because childhood is short (and seemingly getting shorter) and because cartoons are capable of providing you with an opportunity to unwind and shut off your grown-up brain while at the same time giving you the chance to bond with your kids. You can share favorite characters from your childhood (many of which have been rebooted for a new generation) and brilliant new shows from today.

    Because I’m usually up at 7 a.m. watching soccer from England and Spain on weekend mornings, our “Saturday morning” cartoon time is after school, before bed, and in the middle of a snowy Sunday when the idea of going outside is unimaginable. We fire up our Roku Smart TV, get under the covers and watch Nature Cat and Ready Jet Go! on the PBS Kids channel app, Super 4 and Dawn of the Croods on Netflix, Annedroids and Just Add Magic on Amazon Instant Video (neither of which are cartoons but both are 100 percent fantastic original shows for young girls).

    The added beauty, from a grown-up perspective, is that we can enjoy all of these great cartoons and shows without a cable bill (we cut the cord last summer) and we can enjoy it all whenever we want.

    Thanks to our anytime Saturday morning cartoon time, my girls and I share a war chest of quotable one-liners and a wealth of inside jokes, making our connection as dad and daughters that much deeper, unique and more personal.

    My wife and I try our best to give our two kids a long and remarkable childhood so I’ve chosen to skip the after school soap operas I watched when I was their age, but I’m certain that our cartoon time will be stored away in the growing stack of positive memories they each are collecting from their most impressionable years.

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