The last thing I thought I’d ever be writing a blog post on is starting a kid’s YouTube channel, but here we are! My kids, and I know a lot of others, watch YouTube for entertainment as much as they do regular TV. Actually, if given the choice, my children would probably pick watching YouTube videos over anything on TV or Netflix. This is the age we’re in and it’s a far cry from the ten channels I grew up with!
When our youngest was a toddler (not that long ago), I bucked the whole YouTube thing. I thought all kid videos on the platform were cheap and void of anything remotely educational. By the time our second child was born, my opinion was a little less extreme; but I still wasn’t onboard with pulling out the iPad and streaming videos. Fast forward a couple more years and along with several other things I vowed I’d never give into, I caved.
Before I knew it, Ryan’s World, Cookie Swirl C, Blippi and others were regular requests in our house. This hasn’t meant however that our kids have more screen time than before. We monitor just as much as when they exclusively watched traditional kid’s shows. One thing we are strict on is that the kids only watch YouTube via the YouTube Kids App. This family-friendly version ensures that kids are only viewing age appropriate, fun and educational content.
Taking the Plunge - Starting a Kid’s Channel
The full 180 change of opinion on YouTube for kids happened for me when I started my own channel in 2015. I came to appreciate the creativity and ingenuity of the platform. The more I became comfortable with creating my own content, the more credibility I was able to extend to creators making content geared toward children. Blippi is a prime example of this. Stephen John, the entertainer behind the character, makes quality educational videos that rival the very best of children’s tv programming. My kids have explored topics on marine life, the mechanics of a dirt bike and deep feelings all while being fully entertained with song and beautiful imagery. Best of all, it’s free and at a minimum most people have public access to wifi and tablets to stream from.
Being comfortable with YouTube and having a fair amount of experience with editing and posting; when my daughter started asking for her own channel, I wasn’t opposed. We did give it a couple months to see if it was just a passing phase, but it proved not to be and last month we launched Dolly Diva!
We’re still in the beginning stages of establishing the channel, but so far it has proven to be a very rewarding endeavour.
Mairi loves being in front of the camera and putting together videos is a fun activity that as a family, we have really come to enjoy. Rob helps in setting up the shoot, filming and editing. I do most of the preplanning, share with the filming/editing and do all the posting and promotion. Mairi’s brothers have also participated by being in a couple of videos so far and look forward to being in more.
Creating Responsible Content
While I have no problem making a toy unboxing video or showing our kids playing with popular toys; I do feel a responsibility toward creating a balance of content on Mairi’s channel. I also feel it is important to weave the same lessons and values we work on with our children into the videos. Giving back, sharing, and knowing what ‘Sparks Joy’ are all topics that matter to us and won’t be put aside for the sake of the channel. In Mairi’s most recent video, she opened a toy that she already had and without prompting, declared that she was going to give it to a friend. YES!
The truth is, I don’t have a longterm plan or goal for the channel. As long as it’s fun for the kids to make videos, we’ll do it and once it becomes a chore, then we won’t. This might last another week or for the next ten years. For now, it has been a fun endeavour and I would encourage anyone considering doing the same, to try it! There’s really no risk. You can pull your channel at any time. From my own experience with my channel, having a video time capsule to go back and enjoy has been a true blessing. We often sit down and watch old vlogs. It’s a window into a day that has long passed, yet being able to revisit it through our videos is something very unique which we treasure greatly!
If you have any questions about starting a YouTube channel in general - ask away! Oh, and be sure to LIKE, SUBSCRIBE and follow along with Dolly Diva!