What Is Your Family's Must-See TV?
As a child, my mother, sister and I would sit and watch One Day At A Time, a sitcom about a family that looked a lot like ours (but didn't act like ours!). The Thorn Birds was also a major event on par with a family occasion that got the three of us sitting on the couch together, glued to the TV.
Does that happen anymore?
I realize that some people may not consider TV watching to be the best-quality family time out there. But I think anything that brings a family together and gives them something to talk about qualifies. And those moments of a family being together in one room, experiencing one type of media seems to be over.
Just the other day I looked around and realized we were all in the same room but having a different experience. I was cooking and had music on the speakers (CBC Canadian Songwriters), which my 12-year-old told me was killing him so he started listening to music on his iPod while playing a game. My daughter was on the iPad and my other son was playing Minecraft.
And that makes me a little sad.
According to Who Killed the Family Room, an article in the Globe and Mail, the average U.S. home has 24 media devices. I don't think our house is up there, but I stopped counting at 15. All this means that we are spending a lot of time staring at screens, and increasingly we're doing it alone.
The Globe reports: "In more than 8,000 observations of 30 families, they recorded instances when family members watched television as a primary activity (that is, when television was the main focus of their attention). In only 17 per cent of such instances did the entire family watch television together. In 36 per cent of observations, individuals were watching alone."
My kids are 12, 9 and 6, which can make it difficult to find appropriate viewing for the whole family but I still think that it is important. So I will make time and allow bedtime extensions for seemingly trivial TV watching, such as American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, Once Upon A Time and of course any Phineus and Ferb special.
When the kids were little, we even made a big deal of their show's big moments like when Steve left Blue's Clues (am I dating myself?) and when Dora had a special episode, and we still love a good Power Rangers finale.
Watching a show together gives us something to talk about and experience as a family. While I don't always love the message behind reality competition shows (Everyone can be a star!! Fame is worth it!!), I like that each of my kids can form a different opinion which they can voice in family discussions.
I like having an evening that we devote to family viewing together. It's a small thing, but I have a lot of competition in the media department, so I will take the small things.
Want more chaos? Last year, I asked how to talk to kids about weight.