When Squirrel was a wee one, we limited her TV / other programming pretty dramatically. She was close to two before she found the joys of Sesame Street. With Baby Boy, video consumption started younger, because she was already watching.
Here's my thing: I don't mind the programming, I hate them watching commercials. So, no Nickelodeon, no Sprout. PBS, yes. DVDs yes. Netflix streaming is my freaking hero. We keep it somewhat limited, and try to find new creative things. Recently found Wonder Pets, which the Lawyer and I both like for the creativity.
Our list to date for the kids runs something like this: (+ and - are indicative of whether Lawyer and I like it) Sesame Street (+), Dora (loses creativity points every time they go to something or other mountain), Diego (-), Wonder Pets (+), Eloise, Kipper (+), Blues Clues (+), Mustard Pancakes (+) and Caillou (-).
So, my question to the room is, enjoyable programming for kids ... for when we all need to placate, chill them out and cook dinner. Suggestions for quality stuff that won't make my ears bleed, and hopefully not dull their brains too much.
In the words of Wonder Pets, "This is sewious."