Fellow parents, let’s admit it: Sometimes, once our child is in bed (or has simply left the room,) the show they were watching stays on the TV. And, for some reason, we cannot stop watching.
I was introduced to the Australian animated series “Bluey” before my only daughter was born. Our close friends had just discovered the Heeler family on Disney+. While playing a made-up arcade game with their 2-year-old, one of our friends exclaimed, “You have to watch this episode of this new TV show we just discovered,” while they queued up the “The Claw” episode of “Bluey.” After those seven minutes (yes, every episode is only nine minutes!), I was hooked. Having now introduced “Bluey” to my now 15-month-old, I’m just waiting for a local bar to have a “Bluey” trivia night, because I’m certain I’d sweep the floor.
While the show is entertaining, I’ve also learned a lot about parenting and children from the Heeler family. In each episode, we see Bluey process challenges and new skills through the art of play. And we see her parents play creatively with her and her little sister, Bingo. It turns out, Bluey is a much deeper show than talking dogs.
You can find the “Bluey” streaming on Disney+, and meet the Heeler family—a pack of 4 Australian blue heeler dogs. While it was difficult to narrow down, I’ve found the best “Bluey” episodes for parents.
The best “Bluey” episodes for parents
I’m always inspired by how the Heelers are playing and educating their kids. And taking kids camping? As a self-described “indoor cat,” that amazes me. But what I love best about this episode is Bluey’s ability to befriend another kid who is so different from her and who speaks another language! Also, there’s a surprise time jump at the end of this episode that warms my heart every time.
No one understands working parents better than other working parents. In this episode, we see Bandit, Bluey’s dad, struggle between choosing to play with his kids or retreat to his home office and work. And I can completely relate.
I wanted to include this episode to open the door for conversation. During a trip to the beach, Bandit allows Bluey to walk along the beach to meet up with her mom, who is taking some “me time” by walking along the beach by herself. And I have thoughts.
- The episode starts with Bandit explaining to his kids that their mom enjoys being by herself. And as a fellow introverted mom, I appreciated his explanation to his kids! But then he lets Bluey interrupt her precious me-time on the beach.
- Not only does he allow Bluey to interrupt me-time, but Chilli (Bluey and Bingo’s mom) had already started walking along the shore, way ahead of Bluey. And Bandit allows Bluey to walk by herself along the shore! It made me nervous.
At the same time, Bluey shows amazing bravery and imagination while catching up to her mom, who is very excited Bluey caught up to her so they could walk on the beach together.
The kid’s uncle is out of town, but he’s given them permission to use his pool. The kids are eager to go before mom is ready, and she reminds them to grab all the important pool items (you know, sunscreen, goggles, pool toys, towels–what the kids call “boring” items.)
Of course, both dad and the kids forget almost everything needed for a proper swim and are left with limited swimming opportunities. Until mom magically appears with all the “boring” pool items and snacks.
As a mom who packs the diaper bag and gets asked “Did we bring her pacifier?” I appreciated this episode.
After watching a few episodes of “Bluey,” you may think you want to be more like Bandit–a parent who will go to extreme lengths to encourage his kids imagination and creative play. But this episode made me want to be more like Calypso.
As Bluey’s “kindy” teacher, in this episode, you watch her orchestrate independent play amongst different groups of kids into one big game the kids play altogether. It’s amazing.
It’s a baby race! Chilli tells Bluey about when she started hitting her milestones. And she candidly tells Bluey about how she wanted her to hit her milestones early, or at least what she thought would be “on time.” And when Bluey was late to some milestones (but still perfectly happy and healthy) Chilli got nervous.
This episode is such a good reminder that every baby is different, and the pressure to hit milestones are self-imposed. My daughter didn’t crawl until a month before she walked. And while I was nervous and tried everything I could to get her to crawl, she’s now walking, running (and tripping) like she’s been mobile her whole life.
Related: Your guide to baby milestones
“Bluey” is a show made for kids and made for parents. And this episode reminds parents that, of course, while the entire show is fictional, it’s also still about dogs.
Muffin, Bluey and Bingo’s cousin, is required to wear the “cone of shame” (you know, the cone vets put on dogs when they have surgery to prevent them from licking the wound.) But Muffin is required to wear the “cone of shame” because she won’t stop sucking her thumb.
Throughout the episode, the kids find clever ways to incorporate the “cone of shame” into their games. I had to include this one for the writer’s cleverness in incorporating a typical dog act into the show. *chefs kiss*
In an effort to get a babysitter, Chilli accidentally calls Frisky, the kids’ usual babysitter, and their Uncle Rad. When both decide to stay to watch the kids, parents are treated to a kid-friendly little rom-com.
Making friends as an adult (and making friends as a parent) is tough. In this episode, we get a peek into Bandit’s struggle making other dad friends, and how he finds a fellow imaginative dad at the park with Bluey.
If I’m honest, I included this because I would love to meet a working mom friend out in the wild like this.
We get introduced to Chilli’s dad in this episode–and he’s a hoot! Chilli and the kids are visiting him after a minor health scare, and Grandad greets them with VERY active play–much to Chilli’s dismay. In an effort to get them to rest, we see more of where Chilli grew up, learn more about Grandad and his stubbornness and, as parents, relate to what it’s like watching our parents start to get older.
While cleaning out their old nursery room, Bingo and Bluey decide they want their own bedrooms. Bluey will move into the former nursery and Bingo will stay in her room.
I love this episode because you see the personality differences between Bingo and Bluey so starkly (Bingo gives Bluey everything in their old room!) but, also, because the girls ultimately end up in the same bed, sleeping together. My heart.
After losing in an obstacle course race to Bandit, Bluey and her mom train for her to beat him next time! After overcoming challenges and cheating, we see Bluey work harder than she ever has at something. I loved seeing mom’s encouragement, dad and Bluey learning to lose graciously and the determination in this episode!
I must have a soft spot in my heart for Grandad because he makes this episode for me! When he comes to watch the kids, he learns all about the latest technology—how to order food via an app, how to order an Uber and, really, how to work a smartphone. Thinking he can’t keep up with the kids’ technology, he creates his own “app” that breaks the barriers between screens and play.
I’m not one to watch a quiet film (unless John Krasinski is in it), but I could watch this episode on repeat. It is a completely dialogue-free episode where Bluey and mom play in the rain. Because of its quiet nature, it’s probably more for adults than kids. But it’s absolutely beautifully done.
Looking back, season three might be all about technology. FaceTiming with their cousins, Muffin and Socks, the Heeler family plays FaceTime-y games that ultimately don’t end well for someone’s phone.
All over FaceTime, this episode is so fun to watch and follow along! I had a pandemic-baby, so she lights up when she hears the FaceTime ring and is very familiar with how it works (seriously, when she steals our phones, she talks into it instead of putting her against her ear.) I loved this episode for both of us.