You may not think that kids in the US would fall in love with a show about a family of dogs living in Australia, but Bluey would prove otherwise. On the surface, the show seems so unrelatable, so why do kids love Bluey so much? As it turns out, kids actually do have a lot in common with this family of pups (plus, the show itself is just that good).
The show follows a family with two girls, Bluey and Bingo, and each episode is between 9-12 minutes long. While there is a lot to be loved about this show, it starts with the length of the episodes. “Shorter episodes are probably best for younger kids,” early childhood development professor, Heather Kirkorian, Ph.D., tells Romper in an email, “they have trouble understanding full-length shows with lots of complex scenes that unfold over a long period of time [and they] usually comprehend best when there is a single, focused plot that doesn’t jump around from one place to another.” This perfectly describes the format of every Bluey episode.
I am the mom of two girls, a two-year-old and a four-year-old, and despite their developmental differences, one of the few things they have in common is a shared love for Bluey. Actually, the whole family has Bluey in common, because it’s one of the few kids’ shows that my husband and I genuinely enjoy. We’re not alone in this, either; a lot of parents like the show, and that plays into why kids love it so much. “If parents view programs with their children, they can potentially increase their children’s interest and engagement,” Sandra L. Calvert, Ph.D., the director of the Children’s Digital Media Center at Georgetown University, tells Romper. She explains that when kids watch shows with their parents they have the opportunity to ask questions and better comprehend the plot. Dr. Kirkorian agrees, saying that the social aspect of watching the show, laughing together, and talking about the episodes can definitely influence how much a kid loves a show.
Despite the show being about a family of dogs, it is something kids can relate to. “Bluey also has a family, including parents and a sibling. Grandparents and other relatives [and a] diverse cast of friends are included as well,” says Dr. Calvert, “This kind of approach parallels the worlds of children.” It goes beyond that, too, says Dr. Kirkorian. “This show has a lot of production features that kids associate with child-directed content, particularly animation and child voice actors. Young kids quickly learn to associate these kinds of features with TV that is ‘for them,’” she explains, “If young children don’t understand what they’re watching, they’ll stop looking and find something else to do.”
It doesn’t end there, though. There are all kinds of other things Dr. Kirkorian and Dr. Calvert have found in episodes of Bluey that will really attract kids including physical activity and comedy, plots that align with their daily lives, silly jokes, and bright, colorful animation. Also, as Dr. Calvert points out, there are so many Bluey toys out there, which she says “can increase children’s emotional engagement with characters and subsequent learning from the program.”
Needless to say, there is a lot to love about Bluey. Each episode of packed full of humor and heart, making it a wonderful show for parents and kids to connect over. Seriously, it’s so great that I often find myself asking my kids for “just one more episode,” instead of the other way around.
Sandra L. Calvert, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology and Director of the Children’s Digital Media Center at Georgetown University
Heather Kirkorian, Ph.D., Laura M. Second Chair in Early Childhood Development, Associate Professor and Chair of Human Development & Family Studies in the School of Human Ecology at University of Wisconsin-Madison