Make Family Time : How to turn TV Time Into Family Time

by | Feb 8, 2017 | 0 comments

Of course when it comes to watching TV and movies, there is the concern of how to make family time out of TV time.

Nowadays, we are concerned about our children spending too much time in front of the big screen. However, that doesn’t have to be something we worry about if we go about it the right way.

I love films and TV, I always have. Due to my love of films, I actually 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, TV shows, and films (both going to the movie theater and movie nights at home) – have become relationship-building in my family.

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So, how can you make family time out of TV & Screen time?

Ultimately we’re all looking to make family time happen more frequently, make it enjoyable, and want all family members to participate. It seems like almost everyone has such busy schedules these days. Hence why it’s important to spend quality time together. Even if that means having to “pencil it in”.

I know my family fits that bill. Therefore, I came up with some ideas on how to make family time happen involving the TV!

Make a Plan

Nothing in families just happens. Most things have to be thought and planned out. As a result, everyone will be aware of what is happening, when it’s happening, and can adjust their schedules accordingly.

First of all, you will need to decide how often you will have TV family time – weekly, bi-weekly, monthly? In my home it is every Friday.

Make a plan that everyone is happy with.

 MLH TIP:  It’s a good idea to make sure all family members know this is something they DO NOT have to do. Just make sure they know it’s a nice thing to do together. Otherwise, forcing someone’s attendance can cause resentment, which would not make family time memorable by any means.

Create a System

It is so easy for the most dominant person in the house to always get the remote or always pick the film. Therefore 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. Then on Friday we randomly pick one out and whichever film gets pulled is the one we watch.

It’s a fun, fair and easy way to pick a movie. And this way there is no arguing either – that’s what I call a win-win!

Find the Purpose

Think about what you want to gain from the film as a family.

  • Is it a nice time to spend together as a family?
  • Is it 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.

It Should Be Special

This should be a time for everyone to stop, put away distractions (phone, tablets, work, etc), and simply concentrate on spending time together.

It is always popcorn, sweets and blanket-fort moment in our house. But of course pick your own special thing to do!

 MLH Fun Hack:  Make it a real event! When my children were small, they used to decorate the front room and issue tickets. It was so great to see them create an experience for the entire family!

Time spent with family is time well spent. Click To Tweet

Create a Family Tradition

Today’s generation of children and young adults love traditions. In my experience, doing something more than once seems to automatically become a tradition.

They help families bond together, form values, and discover what is important to them.  Hence why I love them so much.  How can you not?!

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. At age six, she took this task upon herself and still absolutely loves it to this day.

She gets a budget for any family entertainment and organizes it all herself. It works really well!

If you can, encourage one of your children to take responsibility for TV time such as this.  Bonus, it teaches them about responsibility!

Don’t Watch and Run

Discuss the film afterwards. But don’t just ask what they thought of the film (to receive the always short answer “it was good”). Ask questions that will give you in-depth answers, such as:

  • Did they learn anything?
  • What did they love, or didn’t love?
  • What could have been better?
  • Which character did they love (or dislike), and why?
  • Etc…

Asking questions like this will give you great insight into your children – who they identify with and what it says about them. And as they get older, you can use films to bring up deeper subjects in a non-confrontational way.

Above All – Make it Fun

Movie night/TV time should be an enjoyable experience! Don’t get too stressed or worked up about it.

Be flexible where you need to be. And most of all: don’t force anyone to be with you or make attendance a rule. Plans change, things come up. That’s all right. As long as someone isn’t missing every family movie event, it’s okay to miss a couple of nights.

cute little afro-american girl and her beautiful young parents looking at camera and showing surprise while sitting on a sofa make family time together while watching tv

Hopefully I have convinced you that watching films and TV isn’t the mindless experience we are led to believe it is. You can definitely make family time happen from turning TV time into a fun event.

Furthermore, 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.

In my opinion, there is nothing like sharing this experience with those you love the most!

Comment below if you have movie nights, or even a different tradition all your own!

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Sarah Newton

Sarah Newton has shared her innovative wisdom with millions who have tuned into her TV and Radio shows, followed her writing and listened to her unconventional talks. She has worked in youth empowerment for over 30 years, first as a police officer and then eventually running her own business, via a stint at Disney World in Florida. Star of ITV’s “My Teen’s A Nightmare, I’m Moving Out” and author of “Help! My Teenager is an Alien – the everyday situation guide for parents”, Sarah has just teamed up with her daughter to write a novel to help girls with their body image issues, she has also written for The Guardian, The Independent, The Huffington Post and the Daily Mail.
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