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Cord cutters have kids too…

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Canceling cable TV can be scary, and even more so if you have children. I often give my daughter some milk and let her watch a 30-minute episode before reading to her and starting her bedtime routine. So, I can understand why many parents would fear losing their children’s favorite shows and networks.

The good news is that you can cancel cable TV and still get your kids favorite shows. Yet, beyond saving money there is another, perhaps even better reason to cut the cord if you are a parent: no advertising. Don’t you hate it when your kids see a toy or movie commercial and then won’t leave you alone about it? That’s the great thing about cord cutting, the significant reduction in ads, or even no ads, on most services.

Now your kids can watch their favorite shows without ads, and without bugging you to buy everything they see. Without ads, you get the good stuff without the junk; instead of watching 30 minutes of TV to see their favorite show, they can watch the whole thing in about 20 minutes. Same show, just without the commercial interruptions.

So now that you know why you want to cancel cable TV with kids, the next question is, “how?”

Here is our short guide to finding some of the most popular kid’s shows online. Note: if you do not have a set top box to stream content to your TV, check out our recommendations on choosing the best set top box.

Most networks have their content spread across the three main streaming services: Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video. Cartoon Network content, for example, appears across all three services. Yet some, like Nickelodeon, have most of their content on Hulu making it easy to find their shows. So for most of the big network programs check out Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video.

But what about free options for kids? You might be surprised to learn that there’s a lot of high-quality children’s programming available for free. Here are just a few of our favorite places to find the shows they already love as well as new original content from around the globe.

Free content for kids

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YouTube Kids

YouTube Kids is an app for Android and iOS that filters YouTube content geared just for kids. “Videos in the YouTube Kids app are narrowed down to content appropriate for kids,” Google wrote in a blog post. “You can browse channels and playlists in four categories: Shows, Music, Learning and Explore. Or search for videos of particular interest to your family, like how to build a model volcano, math tutorials, the amazing (and endless) world of trains–and everything in between.” Check out our video below.

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Sesame Street Go

Sesame Street Go used to be a subscription service that gave you access to games, clips, and full seasons of Sesame Street, but starting December 15th, 2015 it will become 100% free. Sesame Street Go is available on select phones, tablets, and set top streaming devices.

If your kids love watching Sesame Street, you can get a huge library of their content, and great games too, on your phone or tablet for free.

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PBS Kids Video

PBS KIDS Video features more than 1,000 videos from over a dozen top PBS KID television series, including Curious George, The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Dinosaur Train, SUPER WHY!, Wild Kratts, and Sesame Street.

Also, check to see if you can get PBS with an antenna. You can learn more about finding the right antenna in our antenna guide.

Lastly, whichever streaming box you buy, Roku, Apple TV or a Fire TV, check out their store for great kids apps. The Roku boxes alone have over 100 different channels full of free content for kids.

Conclusion

A few hours of children’s television a week doesn’t justify a $100 monthly cable bill, especially when there’s so much great content to enjoy online. Considering how you can also greatly reduce your child’s exposure to commercials, thereby decreasing the amount of time they spend watching their favorite shows, cutting the cord is a smart idea. In this parent’s opinion, it really is the only way to go.