Over the years, I have enjoyed watching television with my kids. Some might argue that television is mindless activity that should not be the basis for parental bonding with children. I beg to differ. It was entertainment and education simultaneously. We developed reading, writing, and arithmetic skills as well as some social skills. We laughed at cartoons, danced with characters on shows, and attempted to duplicate crafts and projects we saw on tv. So, there were some healthy, meaningful results from our television time. We used our fine and gross motor skills. We got our heart rates elevated and stimulated our brains with our creative brilliance. Most importantly, we built a bond and opportunities to talk about things that mattered to me and them in a relaxed forum. Each kid had certain shows on a favorites list and as often as our schedules permitted we would stop everything to spend that
time together in front of the tube.
Well, now the kids are older and the shows have changed. While I can’t say that we define entertainment or education in the same way that we did when they were younger, I can say that in more recent years I am the one learning about the new social norms and trends. Sometimes I make a cameo appearance in the room for a show just so I can stay in touch with the ridiculousness that is my kids reality. Between “The Housewives of Atlanta” and Nick Cannon’s “Wild and Out,” I receive an education. Unfortunately, I sometimes need them to explain language and vocabulary so that I can figure out the jokes and comments. I appreciate them keeping me current and in tune with who and what is relevant. Although we don’t always enjoy the same shows, we have managed to find a few shows that we can watch together and each kid has separately joined me in special addictions to different shows.
As Big Brother neared its finale, the three of us turned our attention to football and the new season of The Voice. Football is on around here Sunday, Monday night, Thursday night, Friday nights after we get home from the high school game, and all day Saturday. I love the game, but sometimes I feel some kind of way about the ability of my boy to watch football year round on the cable channels dedicated to the college football conferences and the professional sports franchises. And if you that’s not enough football, we now have the emergence of high school football programming. For at least a month we have been reminding each other about premier week and all of the shows that are returning to television this fall. I had to take a nap last Monday as we prepared for premier night. We had the Monday Night Football game, “The Voice,” “The Black List,” “Scorpian,” and “Big Bang Theory.” Thanks goodness for the DVR. A couple of months ago I put alerts on my phone to remind me of the start of “The Black List” and “Scandal.”
“The Black List” time slot is my weekly date with my son (and my husband if he gets off work early enough) and the drama of “Scandal” was an addiction for my daughter and me until the guys in the house watched one night to figure out why Shonda Rhimes and Kerry Washington had us hooked. Not sure if they want to admit it, but they too are hooked. When my girl is away in college, she is in the eastern time zone and gets to see all of the shows we love before we do and I hate her for that. Haha! Every Thursday I can count on her to call or text me to say don’t forget “Scandal” tonight because it was soooo good. I joked with the kids today that I would need a nap almost every day last week so that I can stay awake for this television line ups. Again, saved by DVR!
I can’t say that television addictions are healthy for all families, but we have enjoyed our time together watching kid programming, movies, reality tv, and now more adult dramas. Sometimes I use these shows to show them things I never want to hear them say or do. I also use the DVR to record programs geared toward current events and history or that present stories that encourage or inspire. I guess my parent commandment is “In all things, find balance.”