Watching TV and Films is a great way to create family time.
I love films and TV, I always have, in fact I love films so much I got trained in cinema therapy – yes it really is a thing! Films are great archetypal stories that can help us understand ourselves, the world, our feelings and life in general.
So it is no surprise that stories in all forms – books, films, TV shows, going to the movies and movie nights at home have become relationship-building in our family.
So how can you make TV time family time?
1. Make a plan. Nothing in families just happens, most things have to be thought about and planned so everyone is aware of what is happening and can adjust their own schedules accordingly. Decide how often you will have TV family time – weekly, monthly, fortnightly. In my home it is every Friday, Make a plan that everyone is happy with and make sure all family members knows this is not something that they have to do, it is just a nice thing to do.
2. Create some kind of system. It is so easy for the most dominant person in the house to always get the remote or always pick the film, so use a system that makes sure everyone has a fair say. In my home we have a bowl and we all put film suggestions in and then on Friday we randomly pick one out and whichever film gets pulled out is the one we watch.
3. Think about what you want to get out of the film as a family. Is it just a nice time to spend together, a time to share an experience or do you want to watch a film that sparks discussion? Just be clear on what you want from the experience and set it up accordingly.
4. Make it special so everyone knows this is a time to stop, a time to put away the phone and concentrate on spending time together. It is always popcorn, sweets and blanket fort moment in our house, but pick your own special thing. Make it a real event. When my children were small they use to decorate the front room and issues tickets; it was so great to see them create an experience for us as the adults.
5. Remember, this isn’t just movie night, you are creating a family tradition and this generation of children and young people love traditions. If you do something more than once it my home it seems to become a tradition. Traditions helps families bond together, form values and discover what is important to them.
6. Put a child in charge. You don’t have to take this all on yourself; in fact I would highly recommend that you put a child in charge of the process. In my home the extroverted younger child has always been the entertainment manager and she loves it. She gets a budget for any family entertainment and organised it all herself. She has done this from the age of about six and it works really well. If you can, encourage one of your children to take responsibility for TV family time.
7. Don’t just watch and run, talk about the film afterwards if everyone is up for that don’t just ask what they thought of the film, ask what they learnt, what they loved, what they didn’t, what could have been better which character they loved and why. Asking questions like this will give you such an insight into your children, who they identify with and what that says about them. As they get older you can use films to bring up deeper subjects in a non-confrontational way.
8. Finally, have it fun. Make sure you make this an enjoyable experience, don’t get to heavy about it and be flexible where you need to be, Don’t force anyone to be with you if it isn’t their thing and don’t make attending it a rule.
Hopefully I have convinced you that watching films or TV isn’t the mindless experience we are led to believe it is. I for one have had the most enjoyable, deep and meaningful conversations with my daughters after watching a film that made us laugh, cry and gasp in equal measure. There is nothing like sharing this experience with those you love the most.