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TV as Family Entertainment: Elementary Years

by YPI Editors | September 8th, 2016 | Elementary, Entertainment
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7-8-year-old-and-parent-on-blanket-watching-tvThere’s something so delightful about the elementary years, although it isn’t obvious while you’re in the midst of them. Your children are old enough to have a tiny bit of independence, yet they also welcome time with mom and dad. Since they’re still young, small things are exciting: a later bedtime, ice cream sundaes for dessert. Why not take advantage of these factors and create a new family activity?

My suggestion is family movie time. Note, I didn’t name it family movie night, as it should be when is best for your family’s schedule. Maybe on Friday night there’s soccer practice or everyone’s just exhausted by the week; don’t make that movie time. Maybe Sunday afternoon is better for you. Perhaps you have early risers and quiet Saturday mornings? Make that the time to bond in front of the screen.

I know, watching tv, even if it is a movie, can be an inactive event, but it doesn’t have to be. Bring life to family movie time! First, you need to determine a menu. This isn’t just watching a movie- it’s family movie time! If it’s evening, create a sundae bar, a plate of nachos, or a few different flavors of popcorn. For different times of day try other food options: mini muffins, a bagel bar, or homemade pizza. Whatever works for your family is fine; just find some food to enjoy during your screening.

Second, pick comfortable seating. Kids + food + nice couch = disaster, possibly. Find a blanket, throw it on the floor and top it with pillows. (Pillowcase covered is preferred for cleanup.) Pile onto the blanket for the movie without worries about pizza sauce on the recliner. Plus, if younger kids get tired, there’s a pillow at the ready.

Third, choose a movie that works for all. That doesn’t mean that everyone agrees on the choice, siblings will bicker, but it’s something that generally works for everyone. If you let the kids pick, rotate among the kids. Each will have more respect for the others’ choices when his own turn comes.

Finally, talk about the movie after its done. Maybe you can create your own family rating system. Of course, you don’t have to be that ambitious, but you still can talk about favorite characters, different locations, and more. If the movie also has a book version, discuss whether you like the book or movie better.

Above all, the most important piece of this activity is that it is family time. That means that everyone is watching (and hopefully enjoying) the movie. So, no devices should be out. No texting, emailing, or using social media. Just spend time together enjoying the movie and the fabulous company.

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