Is your kid an eager-to-watch fan of Bluey?
If so, then you’ve undoubtedly seen a few episodes (or bunches) yourself.
Maybe you’ve even found yourself comparing your parenting skills to Bandit Heeler, Bluey’s imaginative and ever-patient dad.
I know I have!
Bluey is a favorite in our house, and way more fun to watch than the usual Cocomelon or Paw Patrol.
Not only does it make us laugh, it makes me think a lot about what it really takes to be a great dad. Yes — I’ve learned a lot from watching this seeming silly kid’s cartoon!
Let’s take a look at some parenting lessons every father can learn from the dad from Bluey, Bandit Heeler.
Bandit Heeler is a perfect example, but what exactly can real-life fathers learn from Bluey’s dad?
- Be an active participant in your kids’ lives
- It’s OK to look silly
- Recognize teachable moments
- Roll with mistakes
- It’s OK to miss your old life
Let’s take a closer look at each of them, with examples from the show!
What Is Bluey and Who Is Bandit Heeler?
You might have already seen several Bluey episodes, but do you know what the show is all about?
It actually didn’t start in the states.
Bluey hails from Australia, where it’s an extremely popular television show for kids.
The show made its American debut on Disney Jr. in September of 2019, introducing the country to the fun-loving Heeler family.
You can’t help but smile at the delightful antics and recognizable situations this family of four finds themselves in on a daily basis.
Mom, Chilli, goes to work each day, while dad, Bandit, stays home with the kids, Bluey, and her sis Bingo.
Instead of outlandish plots, the show focuses on real-life situations — particularly, it demonstrates the importance of play and imagination for young kids.
Almost every episode revolves around some silly game the kids have made up… and roped Mom and Dad into!
Overall, the themes of each episode make the show so easy to relate to for parents, especially stay-at-home dads, even if it is a family of dogs taking the lead.
The show concentrates a lot on the dad’s interactions with his children as he’s home with them most days.
Bandit, an archeologist by trade, finds himself home with the kids more often than not — and it’s refreshing to see.
Even in the moments where Bandit’s attempt at working from his home office or trying to do something he wants to do, he inevitably finds himself sidelined by his kids’ desire to play.
Bandit approaches his role with imagination and fun, fully engaging with his children and being present with them.
Whether he’s being the willing patient in a game of hospital, frozen by a magical xylophone, or checking in to a fancy hotel, Bandit’s always game for some creative play.
If you ask me, Bandit is one of the absolute best TV dads around.
Here are five eye-opening things about life that fathers can learn from Bluey’s dad.
1. Be An Active Participant In Your Kid’s Life
When Bandit is home with his kids, he’s doing a lot of different things — like becoming a robot, playing piano on Bluey’s stomach, or sending his girls into fits of giggles with his zaniness.
But, what he isn’t doing is closing himself off in his office, zoning out on his cell phone, or mindlessly watching TV while his kids beg him to play.
This isn’t to stay Bandit wouldn’t like to be doing some of those things; we all get tired and often want to do nothing more than just veg out on the couch.
But, this TV dad realizes that when he’s with his kids, nothing is more important than spending time with them.
I’ll admit, Bandit makes me feel a little bad about my own effort levels sometimes! The way he dives headfirst into play and imaginary games with Bluey and Bingo is seriously impressive.
The memories that these play sessions create and the bond they build between father and children are priceless.
One of my other favorite things about the dad from Bluey is that he doesn’t leave all the parenting up to Mom.
He’s not afraid to get his hands dirty, setting a great example for us dads in the process.
2. It’s Okay To Look Silly
Why do so many grown-ups think it’s above them to act silly?
What are we so afraid of?
Is it really so bad if we draw a few strange looks from the neighbors when we stand outside wearing a wig and superhero cape?
You’re playing with your kids! If the neighbors think that’s strange, then shame on them.
So, dad, if your kids decide it’s time to put on a production of Swan Lake, dress up like a ballerina.
Have a dance party in the front yard and dance like no one’s watching.
Give yourself a french fry mustache when you go to lunch.
There are a few times throughout the series where Bandit gets a little self-conscious with other adults staring at him. But his love for his kids always triumphs.
Your kids will think you’re the absolute coolest (take it while you can get it, dad, the teen years are approaching), and you might be surprised that you’re having fun too.
After all, that’s what Bandit would do.
3. Recognize Teachable Moments
Here’s the thing about play — it’s a critical part of a child’s learning experience.
You might have even heard the expression that a child’s work is play.
That’s because, through play, children can learn a lot about the world, how things work, social interaction, handling emotions, and so much more.
When Bandit plays with Bluey and Bingo, he also latches onto teachable moments.
Teachable moments pop up everywhere; you just have to know how to recognize them and then take advantage of them when they happen.
For example, when playing The Magic Xylophone, Bandit manages to snatch the xylophone from the girls because they’re arguing.
He says in a make-believe villainous voice that he won because they were so busy squabbling.
The game continues, but this time, Bluey and Bingo work together to trick Bandit and win the game.
The perfect teachable moment in action.
4. Mistakes Happen; Roll With It
If there’s one thing that is certain when it comes to parenting, you will make mistakes. No one is perfect, not you or your kids.
Sometimes mistakes are big, sometimes small, but the important thing is that we don’t let them derail us.
When Bluey, Bingo, Bandit, and Chilli play Keepy Uppy with a red balloon, Bandit decides to make things more challenging.
But when the balloon ends up outside, mom alerts the girls to the fact that if it lands on the grass, it will pop.
They all become desperate to keep it up in the air when Bandit arrives with an umbrella.
Being silly, he opens it up and bumps the balloon out of reach, causing it to land on the grass and pop.
At first, Bandit says no big deal; they’ll just blow up another one. But, the girls are glum, explaining it was their last balloon.
But when mistakes happen, the Heelers roll with it. In the following moments, Bandit ends up on the ground — he becomes a giant, human (or, rather, dog) blue balloon.
Bluey excitedly uses his tail to blow him up, then “releases” her balloon and watches in delight as Bandit races around the yard, making noises.
It’s a simple example of how you can overcome a mistake and turn it into a memorable moment.
5. It’s Okay To Miss The Things You Use To Do
Becoming a dad comes with a lot of responsibility, questions, and, undoubtedly, sacrifices.
You might not get to watch the game with the guys on Sundays, or play softball with your buddies on the weekends, or grab drinks after work.
But what you do get is to play ball with your kids, grab an ice cream, and play silly games.
It’s a trade, and the odds are good that you have no regrets. But it’s still OK to miss it, and you shouldn’t feel too guilty if you do.
Bandit certainly doesn’t, but that doesn’t mean he can’t miss the things he used to enjoy.
You can even see him in certain episodes, dreaming about playing ball or wishing he could simply sit and read his newspaper.
But dad duty calls, and he’s whisked off into a whirlwind of make-believe that he happily accepts.
Series creator Joe Brumm put it perfectly: “There’s a few echoes of longing from (Bandit), but there’s not a trace of regret.”
So, dads, the next time your kids beg you to watch Bluey, it’s worth settling in and obliging them.
You can learn a lot from this cartoon dog dad, believe it or not.
If nothing else, TV dad Bandit Heeler will inspire remember you to play with your kids fully and without reservations.
After all, that window of time where they’re desperate to play pretend with you is smaller than you think.
Hope this helps!