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Moo, baa, double quack, double quack

April 13th, 2008

Dr Petra

We’re all familiar with agony aunts (and uncles) giving advice to teenagers and adults on all manner of subjects. But how do you offer advice and information to children? Is it possible to have an agony aunt for them?

Yes, but only if the agony aunt is a duck!

Hana’s Helpline is a new animated television series from Calon TV aimed at children aged under seven, where Agony Aunt Hana the duck is on hand to offer straightforward advice to any little animals who have a problem. All you have to do is dial ‘moo, baa, double quack, double quack’ and you’ll reach her. Each show tackles a different problem that children who are just starting school will identify with. These might include worries about being too short or too tall, concerns over being left out in games, dealing with shyness, or fear of going to the dentist.

The puppets for the programme are beautiful and every episode tackles problems in a sensitive, humorous and entertaining way. All stories enable young viewers to reflect on how they might act in a similar situation, or be reassured if they share the same worries as some of the animals featured in the programme. Teachers can use the programme within a school based setting to encourage discussion of problems, find solutions to difficulties, and encourage little ones to confide in them if they have any worries.

There are a number of books that accompany the series, as well as a DVD featuring some of the episodes from series one. Entertaining in their own right, these resources can also be used by parents, teachers, therapists and youth workers who wish to encourage emotional sensitivity in young people or the opportunity to disclose any worries.

If you’re based in the UK you can watch Hana’s Helpline on Channel Five as part of their Milkshake segment for younger viewers. It’s on at 6.10am (GMT) on weekdays and a more civilised 8.40am (GMT) on weekends. Although I have to warn you, once you’ve heard the theme tune you’ll be singing it all day!

And if you’re a little animal with a big problem, perhaps you should give Hana a call.

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