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Having trouble figuring out what video streaming services you should subscribe to? If so, you need to take a look at each option, and figure out what your kids actually like.
There are tons of streaming services available these days, and each of them has a different set of content, and of course separate pricing. It would be really easy to subscribe and pay for all of these services at the same time, but unless your children are watching 8+ hours of TV a day, you shouldn’t need to.
We let our kids watch about 2 hours of TV per day. That number has gone up a bit since we’ve been sheltering at home, but we try to limit how much TV they watch. As the weather warms up we’ll spend more time outside, and it will be easier to keep them entertained without the TV.
As long as your kids are watching a small amount of TV, then you don’t really need to subscribe to more than one streaming service for a given month. There is so much content on each of the services, and among free services (Youtube) that subscribing to multiple services is really a waste of money.
I’d highly recommend that you review all of your subscriptions and figure out which ones you really watch and enjoy. Throwing money at a subscription so that you have it just in case isn’t really worth it. Additionally, since these services all offer a monthly subscription option, you can re-subscribe every few months if there’s a show that you or or your kids want to watch.
That’s exactly what we recommend to do - subscribe to one service at a time, and filter through them every month or every two months in order to watch the different shows or movies that you want to see on each service.
We take a look at the different options that are currently available, and why they make sense to subscribe to.
Price: $8.99/month (30 day free trial available)
Netflix is the first big player that offered streaming services, and at one point it was the only real option. While Netflix is still the biggest streaming service at this point, it has a lot more competition.
At $8.99/month, it’s not expensive, and they have a huge selection of children’s programming. If you have a TV show that you like as a parent, then I think using Netflix for your kids. However, it’s also my least favorite option of the choices I list here. The shows just aren’t as interesting to my kids. They’ll watch it for sure, but they get tired of most of the shows quickly. For the price though, this is your second best option.
For complete transparency, we don’t subscribe to Netflix, and haven’t for several years. We just didn’t really watch much of it. It may be worth checking out again for us.
Disney+ or Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+
Price: $6.99/month (7 day free trial); For the Hulu and ESPN+ package, it’s $12.99/month
Disney launched this service in 2019, and it’s grown at an incredible rate. For any other service, that might be surprising, but not for Disney. They absolutely dominate the children’s industry, and kids absolutely love their characters. As such, a large percentage of parents have subscribed for this service.
The biggest downside to this service is that it’s almost all children’s shows. While they have several adult movies as well, the selection is quite small, and their TV selection is very small for adults. However, the Hulu and ESPN+ package can really make up for that value.
For $13/month, you can have your kids watching all of the Disney content you let them, while you enjoy your favorite TV show on Hulu, all while streaming live sports on ESPN+ (when sports actually resume, that is). Both can be a really solid value.
Since my wife and I don’t really watch any TV, the Disney+ option without the other services makes the most sense for us. Our kids actually only recently really started to recognize Disney characters really closely - our oldest son never really loved Disney that much, so this is a better option for us at this point as well.
Overall, this is a solid value, and your kids can spend many months going through all of the different options available for them. As as an adult, there are also great options for you as well with this service and/or package.
Prime Video + PBS Kids
Price: $8.99/month or included in your Amazon Prime subscription; Adding PBS Kids subscription is $5/month
Amazon Prime is the hugely popular two-day shipping program from Amazon, and these days those shipping times can be even shorter. I’m a huge fan of the service, and have been using it for years. As a parent it’s extremely helpful, and with shelter in place orders, it has been worth every penny for us.
One of the afterthoughts for Amazon Prime is their Prime Video service. Over the past few years, they’ve put more focus on it, and it’s actually possible to subscribe just to the video service these days. But at $8.99/month, I would say it’s almost definitely not worth that price.
From a children’s content perspective, they look very similar to Netflix, but there are simply less choices. There isn’t anything that sets them apart that is a must have for your kids in this service. As an adult, there are some popular shows on the service that may factor into your decision as well.
One of the benefits to Amazon Prime is the ability to subscribe to the PBS Kids content as well. That costs an additional $5/month to do so, but will unlock a huge amount of additional children’s content that is quite educational in comparison to most everything else available by default. My kids love several of the PBS Kids shows, and so we actually subscribe to this, and easily get our money’s worth out of it.
If you’ve already got Amazon Prime, and use it, then you’re getting Prime Video as part of it. If you don’t have another video service, then the PBS Kids subscription is an excellent value that I would recommend adding. If you’re not an Amazon Prime member, then the Prime Video option is probably the worst option of all available on this list. You’ll be paying the same or more for similar content to the other services.
There are a lot of options for video streaming these days. Figure out what your kids like, and pair down your subscriptions to only those services that you actually use each month.