Not long ago, I had promised Eva that I would take her to see a movie at the theatre on a day that Liv was going to visit a friend. When I woke up that Sunday morning, what I really wanted to do was spend the day at home, however I didn’t want to bail on my promise. So I gave her the choice:
“Do you want to go see the movie, or should we choose something on Netflix and cuddle on the couch together?” (Yes, the use of “cuddle” was pretty sneaky…she loves her snuggles and you can’t do that the same in the movie theatre!)
Her response? “Let’s stay home! We can pick whatever we want to watch, and it saves a lot of money too!” (Smart, right?)
One of the best things about that afternoon was being able to talk to her about what we were watching, and even pause the movie to answer her questions and ask some of my own. (She chose Maleficent, by the way.) Some questions were technical (about special effects or movie-making tidbits), or about plot points, but we also had some great discussions about the characters and their choices.
The girls are really into Heartland right now, and while my husband teases them, “I don’t see any nine or eleven-year-olds on this show!”, they counter that it was recommended to them by their Great Grandma, and therefore must be appropriate. It is, but many of the storylines are adult-based, and also lead to good conversations about relationships (how do you decide when you want to marry someone?), finance (why you can’t just buy a farm on a whim), and responsibility (lots of that required when working with horses and other livestock).
While I can’t always focus for long on children’s shows (let’s just say Lego Friends is another favourite in the house), and if I’m being completely honest, sometimes I’m planning a lesson or blog post in my head while nodding along to the episode retells my children excitedly offer me, I also try my hardest to remember this famous quote:
As my kids are getting older, I’m actually finding that we can watch more programs together that we enjoy, but it’s even valuable to watch the same shows – at different times – to spark discussions later.
As Netflix tells us:
“You may not always understand your teen or tween. In fact, 70% of parents worldwide wish they had more to talk about with them. A recent Netflix study reveals a new place where you can find common ground: Entertainment. Canadian parents (82%) are already watching teen shows to feel closer to them and teens around the world (74%) are on board, saying they’d be interested in talking to parents about the shows they watch. With the majority (89%) of Canadian parents agreeing entertainment would give them something to talk about, let Netflix be the common ground and try taking a walk in your kid’s shows.”
Disclosure: I am part of the Netflix Stream Team, and receive perks for my participation.