Message to mamas on a budget:

Sometimes, let’s face it, you need a break. NOW. But hiring a babysitter isn’t a viable option—especially if you just need to browse the web or take a nap. We’re going to say it loud and clear: there is nothing wrong with occasionally using TV as babysitter. That said, it can be hard to find TV shows that don’t rot your brain with their sickly-sweetness. Barney? Blarg. Caillou? Sweet, but that tyrannically pleasant, sing-songy narrator gets under our skin after a while. The Wiggles? Sorry, but there’s just something skeevy about this hyper-cheerful foursome of dudes.

Looking for TV that doesn’t make you want to wretch? Take a trip across the pond. The BBC produces some really cute, un-obnoxious programming for wee ones. Charlie & Lola kicks ass—truly hilarious dialogue, charming and hip animation, and no tedious moralizing. Check out free episodes on youtube. Kipper the Dog is sweet but not annoyingly so, and the accents of the animals will make you melt. If you have a Netflicks account, you can watch Kipper on demand.

You won’t mind overhearing these shows, and you can tell yourself Janie’s getting some international education.

Just don’t be surprised when she asks for a spot of tea.