I was busy watching Hey Duggee with my 4 year old just before school the other morning (as you do) and asking him a whole bunch of annoying mum questions.
‘Why are they called Squirrels when they are clearly not?’
“How come Duggee doesn’t talk but only barks?
How can the ‘squirrels’ understand him?’
And so on! (In case you are interested, according to my 4 year old, the answers are ‘Mummy, they just are squirrels OK!’ ‘Duggee is a dog, of course he can’t talk!‘ and then a blank stare with regards to the last question!)
If you have not come across it before, Hey Duggee is a programme on CBeebies in which a dog called Duggee runs what appears to be an after school club called The Squirrels. So far, so pretty normal for a kids programme.
But this morning I had a bit of a revelation when I was watching it. In the programme there are a number of different animals who attend the club, ranging from a hyperactive hippo, a sweet-natured rhino, an imaginative octopus and a giggly mouse. Unsurprisingly, their parents are a hippo, a rhino, an octopus and a mouse.
Nothing surprising there.
However, this morning I noticed something I just hadn’t clicked to before. There is one other creature in the programme – a lovely, happy crocodile – aptly named Happy. His parents?
Yep, you read that right – elephants.
It turns out that Happy has been adopted! When I noticed this, I was firstly mildly shocked mainly because children’s TV doesn’t often challenge perceptions of families, and then I was absolutely delighted!
For my two, it gives them the security to realise that they are not alone in being adopted. It normalises what the life they are living!
Well done BBC – what a great idea – and I hope that they will continue to challenge the perceptions and stereotypes of what families look like. This is exactly the type of world I want my children to grow up in – where their norm is just that, normal!
Have you come across any other children’s programmes that challenge the perceptions? We’d love to know so we can take a look!
Featured image credit : BBC/CBeebies