Top 10 Hottest Shows for Tweens

Person in Spongebob costume at Princess Grace Awards.
Greg Doherty / Getty Images

Today's tweens have more options for viewing beyond cable television, so it is becoming harder and harder to pinpoint those big hits. A few remain, however, particularly for the younger kids who are just switching to 'big kid' shows.

While Disney and Nickelodeon continue to produce live-action comedies geared to the tween age group, many of these are becoming mundane, even to the kids themselves. In fact, some of the 'best' primetime shows get the worst critiques from the kids they were written for. 

What is extremely hot are cartoons. These animated shows seem to resonate more with the 9 to 14 year-olds than shows with live actors and there are some good quality cartoons out there.

No matter what your kids are watching on various devices, you should take the time to learn about the shows. Many have meaningful life lessons that you can discuss and bring into the real world. You can even watch quite a few of these together and enjoy the family time with a few laughs mixed in.

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The Loud House

The Loud House is a Nickelodeon cartoon that has a very chaotic family. It's hilarious and a show that kids of all ages love. The story centers around Lincoln Loud, an 11-year-old boy who shares his home with 10 sisters.

Kids will pick up a lot from this funny animated show. Sure, there's some sibling rivalry, a bit of drama, and a little bit of name-calling, but it's nothing serious. You will notice that there is a moral to every episode and between his many sisters and best friend, Clyde, Lincoln never gives up despite the issue of the day.

This is a funny and heartwarming cartoon that your entire family will enjoy, especially the middle child who will relate to Lincoln's 'suffering.'

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The Amazing World of Gumball

Your kids may be looking for a good laugh and "The Amazing World of Gumball" on Cartoon Network is sure to fit the bill. This cartoon is a favorite among tweens because of the antics of its main characters who seem to get into situations that start with the best of intentions.

Gumball is a 12-year-old blue cat and with his goldfish sidekick/adopted brother, Darwin, the adventures never stop. The mother of the story often teaches the boys about right and wrong, though she does get a little too stressed out from time to time.

Parents will note that there is some crass humor scattered throughout and a bit of puking and other gross-out laughs that do trap a kid's attention. The cartoon violence is frequent but fairly light and unrealistic.

It does have some good talking points and lessons hidden within the silliness that you can bring into the real-world if you watch together.

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SpongeBob SquarePants

SpongeBob SquarePants
Photo credit: Nickelodeon

Originally created for kids ages 6 to 11, the cartoon "SpongeBob SquarePants" became a pop culture phenomenon. According to Nickelodeon, the show has been the number-one animated kids' show on television for over six years. Millions of viewers in every age category, including adults, tune in to watch the cartoon regularly. 

Tweens love SpongeBob and his underwater neighbors in the deep-sea town of Bikini Bottom. SpongeBob's house looks like a giant pineapple, and his closest acquaintances include his best friend Patrick the Starfish, Sandy Cheeks the squirrel (who lives in an underwater air bubble), and his co-worker Squidward. SpongeBob works as a fry cook at a fast-food joint called the Krusty Krab. 

This show is filled with good humor, fun scenes, and it's a modern classic in the cartoon world that is sure to offer hours of entertainment.

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Stuck in the Middle

Similar to "The Loud House" but a live-action comedy, "Stuck in the Middle" also portrays a big family dealing with everyday problems and issues. This Disney show is ideal for family watching as everyone will be able to relate to at least one member of the Diaz family.

The focus of this series is Hayley, the middle daughter who struggles with her identity in the large family. Precarious situations arise, drama ensues, and everyone is always busy, it's one of the few tween shows that mirrors real life in a more realistic sense than many others. There's even a nosy neighbor who chimes in frequently.

"Stuck in the Middle" really is a family friendly show that is well-done and enjoyable. The lessons on sibling relationships and importance of the family bond are endless, so it's a good one to discuss over the dinner table with your own family.

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 A spin-off on Disney's hit "Jessie," this live-action comedy follows three of the Ross kids to camp. It's filled with a silliness that borders on being excessive--the typical made-for-tweens comedy that Disney has pumped out in recent years. This can make it hard to watch and some kids recognize it, too. However, those who enjoy the show really love it.

What you will find in "Bunk'd" is light-hearted and well-meaning humor caused by exaggerated pranks and chaos found at summer camp. The antagonist of the story is an overly jealous adult who cannot seem to get over the childhood crush she had on the Ross' father when they were teens. Why she takes that out on the kids is a good and unanswerable question, though it makes for a decent story.

Though you may question the quality of the acting and scripting of the show, it's a relatively harmless one for tweens. Just look at it through the eyes of an 11-year-old and everything will be good.

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Liv and Maddie

Sibling rivalry and a busy family life are the common themes in "Liv and Maddie" which features twin sisters. It is fun and light-hearted and is filled with good messages about being true to yourself and caring for others.

The title characters, Liv and Maddie, get into the typical tween girl adventures with a little relationship drama thrown in for good measure. There is always a laugh to be shared and many young girls can relate to the dilemmas these girls face. 

The show does not get into to the typical teenager issues and there's very little (if any) questionable humor. "Liv and Maddie" is, quite simply, purified Disney entertainment written strictly for the tween audience. It's good, wholesome fun.

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K.C. Undercover

Disney star Zendaya returns for a fun series that bridges the gap for kids between their cartoon and teen comedy phases. "K.C. Undercover" is a show that you won't mind watching yourself and you and your kids will learn to respect the smart, charismatic lead character (even if you can predict what she'll do next).

The premise of the show is that K.C. joins her parents in their work as undercover spies. Each episode has a new problem to solve, though it moves quickly enough that it never goes into any real depth. Kids will love the spy gadgets K.C. uses, such as the laser-gun lipstick case.

You might notice some body humor jokes and a touch of ribbing among friends and siblings on the show, though most of it is relatively tame. The violence is limited to karate moves and the harmful effects are rarely shown.

Each episode is filled with positive moments as well. From K.C.'s tight family bond to her many caring friendships and general goodwill focused helping others, it's a well-meaning sitcom.

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Henry Danger

There is very little to learn from the superhero show called "Henry Danger" and parents may have a hard time watching it because it's filled with cheesy comedy. Still, tweens (especially boys) seem to dig this Nickelodeon show enough to keep it on air.

This sitcom features the title character who gets a job as a superhero sidekick to Captain Man. The show is absurd in many ways, including the whiny supporting characters, the fact that Captain Man looks to a teenager to help him, and the odd reality that Henry's parents remain oblivious to their son's extracurricular activities.

Cheesy is the best word to describe "Henry Danger" though younger kids enjoy the entertainment. You can rest assured that it is so ridiculous that it might not keep their attention for too long and the violence (stage fighting) is too unrealistic to be repeated in real life.

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Photo © Disney

In this Disney Channel comedy for kids, Jessie is an aspiring actress and nanny to the Ross children: Emma, a fashion savvy teen who is the only biological child; Ravi, a 12-year-old from India; Luke, a clever and mischievous teen adopted at age five from Detroit; and Zuri, an adorable precocious nine-year-old adopted at birth from Africa.

The show follows Jessie and the kids as they have comical adventures learning and growing together. While the cast of characters is original and interesting and the acting a joy to watch, the show contains a lot of sarcasm and rude behavior that is taken very lightly on the show but would not be cool if kids imitated in real life.

In fact, many parents (and even some kids) have complained about the inappropriateness of some scenes in this series. Though new episodes are no longer produced, it does run on air often enough to still grab a tween's attention. 

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Good Luck Charlie

Photo © Disney

"Good Luck Charlie" is a live-action comedy series for families. The show airs on the Disney Channel and has become highly popular with tweens and teens, even after new episodes ceased.

Thanks to its family appeal, "Good Luck Charlie" is one that many tweens watch with their families. Not only are families spending time together, but, parents can casually discuss things that happen on the show with kids. This offers a great opportunity to instill family values and help kids learn to make wise choices.