Alyson Hannigan’s Disney role is teaching her daughters to think for themselves

Alyson Hannigan might not have been “the mother” on the long-running TV series ‘How I Met Your Mother’ but she is playing one in Disney Junior’s latest animated series ‘Fancy Nancy Clancy.’

Based on the bestselling books by Jane O’ Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser, the show is an animated family comedy centred around six-year-old Nancy, a girl who likes to be fancy in everything from her advanced vocabulary to her creative, elaborate attire.

And helping her playfully dance through life is her mum Claire, voiced by Hannigan .

The project is a particularly special one for the actress, whose two daughters fell in love with the Fancy Nancy books long before the television series was ever developed.

“I actually became a fan of the books when my oldest daughter was gifted one of them for her second birthday.

“It was an immediate favourite and any of the books we could get our hands on we did,” she tells the Mirror.

In fact Hannigan admits she was so enamoured by Nancy that she pleaded for a part in the Disney adaptation.

“I remember calling my agent and saying ‘I’ll do anything, I’ll even be the dog’, I just wanted to be apart of it”, she tells the Mirror.

Yet, for Hannigan it’s not just the show’s celebration of imagination, creativity and individuality that made it so appealing.

“I love that as a parent it introduces my daughter Keeva into the love of language and seeking out a better vocabulary.

“I certainly wish that I had that at her age because I can see it from the time we started reading her those books, that she just loves using bigger words and finding out what they mean.”

Hannigan says that as a parent, the animated series is something she can trust to be wholesome and good.

“I’m very sort of old fashioned and very slow to let my kids to watch TV, so for me this is a great show to be a part of because this is the type of show I let them watch.

“I no longer worry about my kids if I’m not in the room as I know that they’re going to learn something without even being aware that there’s a lesson.

“Even when she [Nancy] makes a mistake she learns from it and she knows that even if she excluded her sister Jojo – she comes around to why that was not the right choice and makes up for it.”

Hannigan says she has always tried to teach her daughters to think for themselves and embrace who they truly are, something that has only deepened with a role model like Nancy in their lives.

“The show sort of allows the kids to have the space to try to find the answers themselves, when possible.

“Guiding them in the right direction, then letting them figure it out instead of just ‘this is the way you should do it’ kind of thing – that’s generally the way I parent anyway.

“But there’s this one scene where Nancy is asking her mom, when she tried to have a pet butterfly, why did the butterfly fly away, when she had taken such good care of it?

“And instead of just answering it for her, my character sort of put it back to Nancy, letting her find it within herself.

“I think it’s just more powerful of an experience for the child to help them see that they do have have the answers to certain questions inside themselves as well.”

The American Pie star also admitted that her latest work has helped her daughters see what she does for a living.

“Well this is like one of the few things that I have done that they’re allowed to watch,” she laughs.

“They’re not going to be able to watch any of my stuff until they’re adults.

“So they’re thrilled to finally see something I’m in.

“They obviously know that I’m an actress and everything but this job definitely makes me cool now.”

Hannigan loves her character Claire but when it comes to comparisons, the 44-year-old says she feels a particular closeness to her on-screen daughter than the parent.

“I feel like I’m maybe a little more like Nancy, minus the dress.

“She does all the crafting and then the mom is like making snacks and stuff.

“And in our family, I’m the one who wants to do all the crafting and the kids join me,” she quips.

“Nancy is always the one that’s leading the pack, saying things like ‘I’m going to make this the most incredible clubhouse ever’ and then she does it all on her own.

“You wouldn’t be able to keep me away from that. I would be the one doing it and my kids would be ‘ok let’s start it’ and then they’ll go play dolls.”

Fancy Nancy Clancy airs at 7.45am weekdays on Disney Junior

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