Posted by: Fern | August 28, 2009

Zai Jian, Kai Lan

Back in January Nick Jr. started playing “Ni Hao, Kai Lan“, it was instantly a hit with Declan, and when we moved in April and decided that pay tv was something we no longer wanted he would regularly talk about how much he missed it, chat about the characters and goings on in the show. Eventually we gave in and picked up a couple of DVDs for him, which were then watched on repeat at every moment we would allow.



For those not down with preschool programming, the basic formula is this: Introdution to characters/what they’re doing today, one of Kai Lan’s friend’s has a negative emotional response to something, Kai Lan finds a solution and teaches it to the friend, friend has the same response but can now deal with it in a positive way thanks to Kai Lan’s assistance. All of this in interspersed with learning Mandarin and some really lovely illustration.

Sounds pretty awesome right? Particularly for Declan who has trouble dealing with his emotions and transforming negative energies into positive ones. I also think that a pre-school program with a focus on an Asian language is far more appropriate for an Australian audience than Dora or any Spanish influenced shows.

Unfortunately in those few months sans-Kai Lan something clicked in the way Declan watched the show. Since re-introducing it many of his tantrums have become monolouges of Kai Lan’s friend’s tantrums. Even if I play the game with him and do the song and dance about how he needs to sway gently if he’s getting angry, or find something he enjoys doing when waiting for something is hard, it just doesn’t sink in. I’m not sure if it’s his age or just the mode he’s in at this stage of his development, but he only seems to be taking negative lessons from what, in theory, could be a very useful show.

So we’re saying goodbye to Kai Lan for a short while, or zai jan as she would say. Give it a couple of months and hopefully Declan would be able to take something positive away from it. One of the most fabulous things about slowly removing the television from our home is that we have the power to do so, those DVDs are just going to go missing for a little bit. I’m hoping not for too long, because as far as I know there’s no where else that I can get my fix of flying rhinos and koalas with panda issues.

What have your toddler’s responses to the show been like? I’m hoping there must be something positive coming out of it, and not just my son being a nutcase!



  1. Interestingly, our then 4 year old son had a very similar response to watching Kai Lan. Tantrums and behavior mimicking the negative attitude of the friend. It was really frustrating as he too had started out learning the lesson in the show. I wonder if the layout is too complicated? I know just showing good behaviour might seem boring or too simple to producers, but really, don’t little ones just mimic what they see most of the time?

  2. Don’t know where you are in your world sonny boy, but I’m trying my damndest to stay at the centre of mine. Big Raspberry. xx Click

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