Family Friday: It's TV & Movie Time!

Second Friday of the month:  Parenthood / Kids

Every room in our house has a television. We even have a mini theater room made for my movie buff husband.  I'm sure many of you have raised their eyebrows after my first sentence. But it's true. I married into a family that can't live without it.

We can't escape the television in our home. Sure there are pros and cons to watching TV. Same goes for movie viewing, and playing video games. We just need to learn to moderate the time our kids spend watching, and embrace the benefits of having them.

Our number one rule is:  Studies first, TV/movie/play later.  I wrote more about studies and video games here.
A very small pile of a huge collection of DVDs we have at home

I planned this post over a week ago. But with the very recent calamity that hit our capital, which caused a power outage in our neighborhood for close to 30 hours, all the more I realized that this family is addicted to television!
To illustrate:
Hubby and F.I.L. bought another portable TV when we had a power outage the other day!  This one below is their vintage, battery-operated, handheld television unit, in black and white.  It's indispensable during blackouts.  I do appreciate having this especially when getting updates from local news.

On the plus side, allow me to share how we make TV and movie viewing more fun, and use this activity as learning moments between the kids, and bonding time for the whole family.

1. Set a Movie Date

At the movie house:
  • Choose a day and time for watching a new release - it builds anticipation, and makes it more exciting, especially with the kids
  • When appropriate, they dress in character shirts, if they have them
  • We try to catch the first showing or an earlier showtime to avoid the crowds
  • Dine at a favorite family restaurant before or after the show
  • Sometimes, we buy them a character toy from the movie, IF they were a good boy and girl
At home:
  • Agree on a pre-selected title for home viewing, or we surprise them - with an old favorite or a new release
  • Serve popcorn, chips, and refreshments just like in the movie house
  • Dim the lights and turn on airconditioning to set the mood
  • We either watch in the theater room, or huddle in our bed
Here, my youngsters shared a seat and enjoyed the movie 'Cars'

Watching video clips on the iPad

We rarely go out to watch a movie since they always prefer to watch at the comforts of our home. Last we saw was Ice Age 4 in 3D.  We usually set our family movie time on a Sunday afternoon.

2. Know their Favorite TV Show/s

As much as I would like to avoid watching some of their favorites over and over again, I have to. Getting to know the characters help me relate to them and discuss what they learned from watching the show. 

And yes, I am guilty of leaving them in front of the TV (with the nanny) for an hour or so just so I can finish what I have to do for the day. After viewing:
  • Encourage role-play, getting them in character after the show is over extends their playtime away from the TV
  • Some TV shows have book versions, so it's a great transition from watching to reading
  • Look for educational toys and video games with their favorite characters for a more enjoyable playtime
Some of the shows they watch, here in book format

We know they enjoyed and leaned something from the show when they talk about the characters, re-enact some memorable scenes, or when they request to watch it again!  

3. Kid-TV

Help the kids create their own TV show!
  • Cut-out big boards or cartons, or in our case, a perfectly-shaped styropor from an old packaging, which they decorated to look like a TV monitor
  • Use toys as props and let them make a simple script for their spiels
  • Record their "show" on video, they'll enjoy watching themselves

Here's a video clip I recorded with the kids late last year. I just edited it to less than a minute for your convenience.  Listen to the girl's "newscast" while the boy creates sound effects.  I found this video so apt given the recent torrential rains we had for days over the metro!
"Today is a Rainy Day" - by The Girl

Enjoy your viewing time with the kids! What are your favorite shows?

This feature was inspired by the newest mommy community online -- learn and share your tips too on how you can mix fun and learning for the kids at Seriously Fun Moms on Facebook!

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