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It’s not always easy to find an enjoyable or morally inscrutable way to entertain your children. As much as family outings to beaches or parks can be a wholesome activity, many parents have periods where they need to plop their kids down in front of a TV, laptop or tablet so that they can do grown up things such as laundry or cooking.
Which Streaming Services are Good for Kids?
The days of just Netflix and Amazon are long gone. It seems like there’s two new streaming services popping up everytime one of them fails and dies. Here are the major streaming services to consider:
- Amazon Prime
- Peacock TV
Which Streaming Services Have Child Profiles?
All the platforms below feature child profiles, but the default age appropriate content they show varies.
|Platform||Default Child Profile Content Age||Can the age bracket be changed?|
|Netflix||7 and Under (PG)||Yes – Universal, 12, 15, 18|
|Disney+||7 and Under||Not on a child profile, Adults can be set to any TV/Film rating|
|Hulu||12 and Under||No|
|Amazon Prime||12 and Under||Yes – But based on device rather than profile|
|Peacock TV||12 and Under||Yes – Family, Older Kids, Little Kids|
Who is the best at what?
Best For Range Of Content – Netflix
Netflix is the go to streaming service for most. Despite some negative press around price hikes and account sharing, they’re hard to beat when it comes to content for kids. With a huge number of exclusives and originals, as well as the common child favorites, the costly subscription fees do return a plethora of content.
Netflix is a good middle ground for an older family. A wide variety of well-known shows to ease your teens into more mature content, but also plenty to keep you going if you manage to stay up later than them.
|Best Known For||Gabbys Dollhouse||Vivo|
|Best Exclusive||Floor is Lava||The Mitchells vs The Machines|
|Hidden Gem||Is It Cake?||Animal Crackers|
Netflix packages start from $6.99 a month.
Best For Movies – Disney+
If, like me, you live with two tiny princesses, then Disney+ is an absolute must. The full back catalog of Disney, Marvel, LucasFilm and Pixar is more than enough to keep your little ones entertained for hours. It’s reasonably priced (even more so if you can still find an offer on a purchase that comes with a years subscription) and easy to navigate. A special mention also needs to go to the fact that they currently are the first service to stream any new series of Bluey.
Disney+ has a superb collection for younger kids who want to be whisked off into magical fairytales, while still having plenty for adults who like to watch their childhood heroes try to kill each other with lightsabers.
|Best Known For||Bluey||Frozen|
|Best Exclusive||Duck Tales||Encanto|
|Hidden Gem||The Chicken Squad||Luca|
Disney+ Subscriptions start from $7.99 a month.
Best For Retro Viewing – Hulu
Due to the links with Disney+, the impression I’ve always got from Hulu is that it’s left with the shows Disney didn’t deem worthy of putting on it’s own platform. That’s not to say there aren’t some gems available, particularly if you’re a fan of forcing your kids to watch the shows/films you grew up watching. That way when they cry and ask you to turn it off, it hurts that little bit more.
Hulu is a great platform for showing your kids the classics from your youth, but it’s unlikely to interest younger children. Worth considering the fact you can bundle up Hulu with Disney+ for when they get a bit older.
|Best Known For||Animaniacs||How To Save Your Dragon|
|Hidden Gem||Lego Masters||A Cat In Paris|
Hulu subscriptions start from $7.99 a month.
Best For Value – Amazon Prime
Unlike the other streaming services, you’d have to say Amazon’s video streaming arm isn’t really it’s main concern. As a result, it often gets overlooked. Considering it comes packaged up with a prime membership which has a number of benefits, the content it provides through Prime Video is not to be sniffed at.
Amazon is another service that is probably best for a household with teenage children looking to get into some older content. The Julia Donaldson series of stories is a must for anyone with younger children, but I’m not sure it’s worth a prime membership alone (especially as you could buy these titles without the membership and own them indefinitely). That said, Prime Video gets used a lot more in our house around Christmas.
|Best Known For||Tumble Leaf||Hotel Transylvania|
|Best Exclusive||Lost Oz||Addams Family|
|Hidden Gem||The Julia Donaldson Series (Gruffalo, Highway Rat etc).||Flight of the Navigator|
Amazon Prime Video is included with an Amazon Prime Membership at $14.99 a month.
Best For A Mix Of Family And Adult Viewing – Peacock TV
NBC’s streaming platform was relatively late to the online viewing party, and as a result a number of it’s shows had already been available on the above services for some time. Over recent years/months it has managed to claw back exclusivity to a number of these shows. However, Peacock has the feel of an infant in amongst the grown up major platforms, with fairly standard features noticeably missing.
Peacock is a must if you have avid Harry Potter fans in your home. It also comes with a good amount of sport which (with the rare exception of Amazon Prime) is the only service in our list that does. It’s probably best aimed at children over 8 who are either genuinely interested in, or being curtailed to be interest in, sport.
|Best Known For||Curious George||Despicable Me|
|Best Exclusive||Ninja Warrior Junior||Harry Potter Series|
|Hidden Gem||Archibalds Big Thing Is Here||Chicken Run|
Peacock TV subscriptions start at just $4.99 a month.
With the cost of living spiraling out of control and price increases on just about every facet of day to day life, it’s no surprise that streaming platforms seem to be taking steps to adjust. But with those adjustments many of us simply can’t afford every service available and will have to make the difficult decision to narrow down the entertainment options for the foreseeable future.
For me, it depends largely on the age of the main TV watchers in the household. Although not cheap, Netflix certainly has the bulk of the trending TV shows for adults, and is probably a better fit if you have older children. Disney+ however, comes in a little cheaper and has some of the best content around for both adults, teenagers and younger children.