When a child reaches preschool age, they start developing the important skill of self-awareness – the ability to recognise your own thoughts, feelings and actions. However, this is a skill that needs to be encouraged and nurtured in kids, it doesn’t develop overnight.

Unless you’re super mum, you’ve probably resorted on occasion to plonking your kids in front of the TV every now and then to cook dinner, clean the house, or simply make a phone call.

Parents shouldn’t feel guilty about this – as long as they are choosing the right TV programmes. Making sure pre-schoolers are watching the right shows can help them further develop their emotional and intellectual skills which is beneficial for their overall development.

There’s a huge amount of kids’ content available today and sometimes the choices can be quite overwhelming for parents. However, fortunately with streaming services and dedicated programming blocks such as Disney+ and ABC Kids, it’s a lot easier for parents to pick and choose the best programming for their children.

The good thing about so much content being available is that you have options when it comes to choosing material relevant to your child’s particular needs.

The right television shows can help children to develop their emotional and intellectual skills.

Choosing shows that celebrate our differences can help children to realise that being different is a good thing. In Dino Ranch on Disney+  the three young Cassidy rancheros, Jon, Min, and Miguel are adopted siblings of all different nationalities who work together to look after the dinosaurs on the farm.

The show introduces children to problem-solving, the foundations of forging life-long friendships, strengthening family and community bonds and taking care of animals. It also highlights the value of hard work and commitment to teamwork, as Jon, Min, and Miguel, along with their Ma and Pa, work on overcoming problems and come together as a team to find the best possible solutions.

Dino Ranch introduces children to problem-solving and teamwork.

Shows which explore emotions are a great way for kids to learn self-awareness and how to interact with others. Love Monster, available on ABC Kids, which is based on the bestselling Love Monsterseries of books by award-winning British author and illustrator Rachel Bright, showcases the importance of kindness, empathy, instinct and emotional awareness. By watching Love Monster’s adventures unfold, as he navigates the challenges involved in being a bit funny looking in a world filled with cute fluffy things, the series teaches young audiences at home how to cope with different and challenging emotions.

Leah Brennan, chartered clinical psychologist at Mindscape Psychology who has more than 20 years’ experience in providing psychological treatments to children, said parents can use shows such as Love Monster to help their children process important life learnings.

“Through Love Monster children can learn about emotions, not only by identifying them, but also learning how to best manage them, and parents can often benefit from a few tips too,” she said. “The series demonstrates to very young children that actually, all feelings are ok – not ‘good’ or ‘bad’ – and that it is important to identify and understand these feelings and learn how to tolerate them.

“This is a very important message for parents struggling to ‘fix’ perceived negative feelings such as anger and anxiety, in a society that encourages ‘just getting on with it’. The episodes also offer practical tips to help achieve this, particularly in emotional regulation such as helpful coping thoughts, relaxation strategies and graded exposure to feared tasks.”

Love Monster can help children learn about emotions.

Children’s programming has come a long way in the past 10 years and there are now all sorts of positive programs to choose from which can nurture not only their intellectual, but emotional needs.

When children understand themselves, their emotions and their self-worth, it helps them to build their overall self-esteem which is important for pre-schoolers while they are preparing to take the big step into primary school.

Dino Ranch is currently streaming on Disney+ and Love Monster is on ABC iview.