As you know, we spend a lot of free time doing things as a family. Going to conventions, playing board games, going to the movies and watching TV. Yes, I said watching TV. I know, I know. Parents are sworn to the unspoken code of “Don’t let the kids turn into couch potatoes.” With all the time they spend playing video games or streaming videos on their iPads, one would probably expect us to say no other screen time allowed.
Fortunately for our kids, we aren’t like that. Fortunately for us, we aren’t like that. The way we see it, screen time isn’t synonymous with bad.
We go to the movies a lot. A LOT. We’re considered regulars if the theater has such a thing. Let me put it this way, we are there often enough that several of the concession stand workers know exactly how we like our snacks. Layered butter, Coke-no ice, with a coupon. Always. There are so many great movies and we want to see them all on the big screen. Unfortunately, that just isn’t possible. Schedules get busy (and movies get expensive) so we select the ones we’re most likely to want to see in the theater. Others, like The Smurfs 2, we patiently wait for their release on Netflix. There are even some movies like Hoodwinked that we kind of remember seeing something about but missed until *poof* we see them on Netflix.
Sometimes we see a movie in the theater (Marvel Avengers, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2) but it’s worth another viewing and once again, we patiently wait for release on Netflix. When we know there is another movie getting ready to release, we always like to recap prior movies to remind us of the subtle details that will make the new movie more fulfilling.
Of course, classics like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and The Breakfast Club are great to have in our back pocket for when we feel the time is right. Even movies like Holes are fun to sit down and laugh about as a family.
Too often, we get wrapped up in work deadlines, school work and extra curricular activities that we forget to have conversations. The time we spend in front of the TV opens doors to communication. Whether it is about a particular subject matter witnessed in a show/movie or critical thinking about what this character or that is going to do next doesn’t matter. Dialogue is dialogue. Any time parents can create opportunities to share a common interest, they should. Our kids are excited to discuss plots, potential outcomes, possible sequels and more.
The biggest thing is that movie night – or even TV night – doesn’t have to wait until Friday. If the kids have their homework done on a weeknight, pop in a pizza and prepare for some quality family time. That’s how bonding happens.That’s how doors to conversation open. That’s when TV time becomes quality time.
What do you do to bond with your kids? Do you find sneaky ways to open the doors to conversation?