Are these cheerful little tunes threatening to drown out your sanity? Aussie dad Niall is right there with you.
It’s no exaggeration to say there’s a kids’ TV theme song stuck in my head most nights when I climb into bed.
So much so that I’ve started to listen to my favourite music just before calling it a night to try to overpower the aforementioned jingle.
Those jingles are resilient beasts though and often win the battle, leaving me to drift off to sleep with “Do-do-do-do-doo-do-do-do-do-Bluey!” playing on repeat in my head.
Some are worse than others, and the music manically going round and round in my brain at the end of a day can range from mildly annoying to downright maddening.
As with most toddlers, my child’s TV preferences can change as quickly as his moods and eating habits, meaning Thomas And Friends can be his favourite one day but then cause a full-scale meltdown at the mention of it the next.
These fickle and random TV show choices wouldn’t be important – except they directly impact which song is buzzing around my head come the end of the day.
So, without further ado, here’s my list of kids TV show jingles, ranked from worst to best.
Note – these are just from the main handful of cartoons my son watches on ABC Kids, so not every single song will be covered here!
Shaun the Sheep
The introductory harmonica can send shivers up your spine if you’re a bit over this British stop-motion animated series (and spin-off of the Wallace and Gromit franchise).
If you haven’t zoned out in a TV-watching haze and actually listen to the lyrics, they are as inane and irritating as the show itself — “He’s Shaun the sheep, he’s Shaun the sheep, he even mucks about with those who cannot bleat!”
And because the episodes are short, you’ll be hearing a LOT of them if your toddler becomes infatuated with watching episodes on repeat.
The high-speed banjo jingle about “the little lamb with a lot to learn” hits you between the ears right off the bat and there’s no escape – this one can really get stuck in your head for hours (or days) at a time.
The intro music is long at almost a minute, too, giving it ample time to seep into your soul. And the banjo riff can end up haunting your dreams like a swarm of bats that cheerfully bite your brain and suck the happiness out forever.
One to avoid at all possible costs.
Waffle the Wonder Dog
This show about a mischievous puppy who creates havoc for a blended British family tries to be cute, but just leaves you wanting to strangle the dog … or its owners and neighbours.
The accompanying tune is just as infuriating, and the lyrics — “Waffle Doggy … Waffle Doggy … Waffle Doggy … you’re such a clever dog, such a clever doggy you are” — would have me tearing my hair out in exasperation, if I had any left.
Oh and spoiler alert: YOU’RE NOT A CLEVER DOG, WAFFLE!!
Don’t let the rollicking blues’ big band intro music fool you – this is a real earworm and will have you screaming in frustration days later as you find yourself humming it at random moments.
The show is about a group of 10 creatures called the Numtums, each with a number on their tummies to give the show a guise of numerical education.
If only they could learn to create a more palatable song for long-suffering parents because this one makes you want to stuff your child’s booger-infested tissues in your ears to avoid it.
This one is especially ingrained in my brain after our toddler demanded it be sung to him as a lullaby for about a six-month period when he was obsessed with Sam and Co.
Sure, it helped get him to sleep but it also helped take me one step closer to the local psych ward.
Like the show itself, the lyrics — “So move aside, make way, Fireman Sam! ‘Cos he’s gonna save the day, Fireman Sam! Cos he’s brave to the core … Sam is the hero next door” — are all about how great old mate Sam is as the chief firefighter in the fictional Welsh town of Pontypandy.
The only positive thing to say about the jingle itself is at least it’s short and sharp.
Thomas And Friends
Thomas And Friends’ opening jingle is brief, which is a welcome relief.
But the closing music goes for 1 minute 40 seconds. This means it’s not only lodged deep in your ears and brain, but often enrages an impatient toddler who is desperate to watch the next episode.
Don’t get me started on original Thomas versus the new Big World Adventures episodes. The fact that changing the theme song and introducing more diverse train characters caused a social media uproar points to how far down in depths of toddlerhood us parents are.
Bob The Builder
Even people without kids would know who Bob the Builder is, and might even recognise the familiar “Bob the Builder – can we fix it? Bob the Builder YES WE CAN!” refrain.
This one is mercifully short and sharp at around 30 seconds, and it’s actually not one that will have you banging your head against a brick wall.
A global phenomenon. Peppa is a favourite around the world and its theme song is fantastic because it doesn’t muck about – just a short jingle with Peppa introducing herself, her brother, mum, and her dad as they snort along for about 15 seconds.
Peg + Cat
A pleasant enough banjo riff introduces the show, with the music and lyrics showcasing some of its irreverent humour.
At about 40 seconds, it’s probably a tad long but at least it’s not something you’ll be reduced to tears by when it pops into your head unannounced.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, it’s pronounced ‘Peg plus Cat,’ not ‘Peg and Cat’ – an easy mistake to make.
Is there anything this series about a blue heeler family in Brisbane gets wrong?
Having notched a monstrous 100 million program plays on iView – making Bluey the ABC’s most watched show ever – the show took out a Logie for the ‘Most Outstanding Children’s Program’.
Its theme song is one of the best, too, inspiring adults and children from across the world to shake their hips as the show’s main characters are introduced in a touch over 20 seconds.
It’s the best of a very, very bad lot.
That’s the end of the list – but not the end of the jingles running through my head.
To all you other dads out there, best of luck. Good luck, Godspeed, and (hopefully, probably not) good night.