TALK BACK: family tv time

I was talking with a group of friends recently about how our family grew up watching tv shows together on certain evenings. This was before the days of Tivo, when we watched things in real time. We always looked forward to "Cosby Night" and "Growing Pains Night", when we would pop popcorn and sit and watch together.

Our society seems to have fragmented tv time now. Shows do not seem as family-focused. Children have tv's in their room and can watch on-demand. It's not unusual for any given home to have kids watching tv in a bedroom while adults watch tv in another room altogether.

How do you balance this? Are there shows your family actually enjoys together?

17 comments:

  1. I think about this a lot. The boys are only 4 and 2, but I struggle with moderation in general, so I kinda want to be prepared. My husband and I were JUST talking about how we wish there were shows like The Cosby Show so we could look forward to a night all snuggled on the couch with the whole fam. Now there's just reality TV and crime shows, sitcoms with stuff kids shouldn't see/hear and dramas that push the line, too.

    Right now we do family movie night every Friday night, so that's what we look forward to in regards to the big screen in the living room :) We make it a big deal, with the boys taking turns choosing the movie at the actual MOVIE STORE and we eat popcorn for dinner.

    That's all I know for now. I hope I'm better at moderation when the boys are older, so I can teach it to them :)

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  2. You're right. The appointment TV is just falling away. Remember when you could only see Wizard of Oz once a year? There are still shows we love to watch as a family, including The Office, Project Runway and iCarly. Phineus and Ferb too. I know, disparate, aren't they? But when we watch depends on how our busy, crazy schedules fall. Usually twice a week, we'll sit down and run through some of the DVR'd shows we've accumulated.

    It actually feels a lot like Friday nights on ABC with the Love Boat and Fantasy Island.

    Cheers,

    SLC

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  3. I agree with Heather, theres not really any family shows anymore! My daughter is only 17 months so it isn't a big problem yet. The only "family" TV time we have is watching Dora together usually 3 nights a week before Madi goes to sleep, haha!

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  4. When the kids were younger, Spongebob was the show. We'll still watch it. It's a fantastic kids program with little bits for the grownups as well. Try that, Megan. Come on, you know you want to. :)

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  5. I can remember the whole family racing to the living room in order to get a get spot to watch Alf. It was one of the must-see's.
    Now I have my own family, we still watch a few things together. There's icarly or Spongebob, mostly for the 4 year old. The older kids enjoy almost everything on The Discovery Channel. Every boy, including my hubby, looks forward to Shark Week. And anything on Mythbusters or Dirty Jobs is loved.
    The only tv's in our house are the living room, play room & master bedroom. The play room tv is strictly video games & movies- no cable.

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  6. My children will NOT have TVs or internet in their rooms! It will be tempting, I'm sure...but I'm completely against it. I had a TV in my room and would zone out for hours. My best friend did not, and she and her dad would play basketball outside until dark until she left for college. We try to keep our bedrooms mainly for sleeping. My children have very few toys in their rooms. I like the idea of movie night once a week, taking turn to choose. We will do that when my kids stay up past 7:00!

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  7. The only TV we let our 2 and 4 year old watch with us is the cooking channel. Otherwise, there are a few movies we let them watch (Mary Poppings, Sound of Music...any other ideas you guys have?) but even some kid shows have questionable material. A lot of disney movies have scary parts, Thomas has so many angry trains all the time, Little Mermaid is about discontent with the life you have, etc. So I guess the bottom line is you can't totally protect them but the longer you can wait to expose them to these messages the better so hopefully they're at an age that you can talk about what they mean, what God says about it, etc.

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  8. Our computer's in the living room and we hardly ever watch tv, so we have "movie nights" where we download old Muppet movies and eat pizza and Sprite in the living room (VERY big deal). Most shows just aren't what they were when we were growing up. I don't even feel comfortable with my kiddos watching most commercials.

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  9. Our family likes the Iron Chef and Challenge shows on Sundays. We do let the kids have one tv in their playroom upstairs and our TV downstairs, but it is also because between us and our friends we have 11 kids and so we send them up to the play room so we can at least hear ourselves talk!! I have been trying to keep tv watching down to an hour a day, because otherwise they turn into zombies stuck in the couch with blank expressions on their face!! I like shows like word world, Dora, backyardigans, word girl, berinstein bears and clifford. I let my kids watch some of the others like max and ruby, and charlie and lola, but am not a huge fan of them because of the lack of parenting that is displayed. I absolutely will not let them watch sponge bob! Some of our favorit movies are veggie tales! I think for our lifestyle we are looking for more of family night and not so much of a tv show or movie night, not that we could not do that once in a while :) We are just trying to be more active and less sedintary, and living in Alaska that can be hard sometimes!

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  10. Growing up, we had TGIF to look forward to along with the general weekday shows. We never had cable and weren're allowed to have a TV in our bedroom (well at least not until my senior year of HS).

    Now, with our 19M old, there really is nothing kid friendly on in the evenings, but the hubby & I have certain shows we watch on certain nights. We also love to watch Yo Gabba Gabba, Word World, etc. interactively with our son. We don't plan on getting cable and really see no need for more than 1 TV in the house. I'm even holding out on video game systems as long as humanly possible. I just feel like people are all caught up in their techy worlds that we forget about the real outside world.

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  11. I know it sounds extreme, but we don't watch television at all in our home. We don't have regular channels, nor do we pay for cable. I'm not "that" person--the religious, sheltering type--I just believe in wholesome, good stuff. And television is not the place to find it. We have movie night every Friday night and we do watch lots of movies on the weekend in our free time (what's that, right?) But, we've been without television for over a year and haven't missed it for one moment. You would be surprised how full life can really be without it. (I say this b/c people ask me all the time "What do you DO without television??) ;)

    Also, we rent Little House on the Prairie from the library and watch it with our kids (9 and 5). We all LOVE it!

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  12. America's Funniest Home Videos is our ritual Sunday night routine. We want to avoid at all cost having a tv in the kids rooms. I think it is a recipe for disaster.
    Hey but who knows, I also told myself (pre mommyhood) I would never give my children french fries.. And I have.

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  13. I think about watching the Cosby show with my family growing up all the time!
    We had an 8pm bed time and were in CST zone, so it came on at 7 then we watched the next show (Different World?) and went to bed.
    My kids also go to bed at 8 now and we don't have a family show we watch. We don't even do TV every night, but some times we watch a kids DVD. Around Christmas I started popping popcorn a bit to. But we don't have a year round ritual.

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  14. My family watched Wild America every Sunday night and had popcorn, cheese and apples for dinner.

    We bought Planet Earth and Blue Planet to watch together as a family. We don't have a family ritual with those, we'll just watch them every once in a while until we get through them all.

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  15. I haven't had to deal much with this issue yet, with a nearly 2-year old, though we limit his TV time to an hour a day, usually Sesame Street. I also hate to see him glazed over, staring at the TV when there is so much more to life.

    I'm sure as he gets older things will change, but at the moment we have very limited cable and don't get much kids' programming anyway. We do occasionally pop in a DVD, like Maisy Mouse or The Muppet Show.

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  16. Growing up we would gather around our BLACK AND WHITE TV and watch The Cosby Show on Thursday nights and that was IT! And it was the most exciting thing ever! Now, with 3 kids under 5, the whole family enjoys watching various nature shows on Discovery. There's always fascinating shows about newly discovered species or dolphins or whatever, and the whole family enjoys learning more about our planet. And surprisingly, my older kids (5 and 3) really enjoy a couple cooking shows that my hubby and I really like (Iron Chef, Chopped...

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  17. I think the lesson here is that most parents take what they let their kids watch very seriously and try to get the best out of a media that by its very nature can breed anti-social, unhealthy, mentally numbing behavior. Hats off to all of you for taking the time and care. It's nice to see.

    Cheers,

    SLC

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