While too much screen time is never a good thing, psychologists agree that there are benefits to watching a television show or movie with your child.
Co-viewing can be a valuable shared activity. My daughter and I have a Friday night ritual: we make popcorn, put on our comfies and settle down to watch our favourite television show together. It’s our special time. Here’s how to make magical movie moments with your child:
Start a discussion
Discuss what is happening during the show. If there is an interesting plot development, or a character doing something unusual, pause the show and talk about it. Ask your child how they would have responded in a similar situation.
Look out for stereotypes in cartoons and sitcoms. Ask your child if it’s fair that the daughter in your favourite comedy always does the dishes, for example. Ask why we expect some characters to behave in a certain way. Turn magical movie moments into learning opportunities.
Look for life lessons and morals in the shows you watch together. It’s a good way of showing your child how to deal with challenges. Maybe the lead character is battling with bullying at school. Use the show as an opportunity to guide your child through their own struggles.
Find out more about another shared activity – reading aloud with your child
Take a trip down memory lane
Revisit the magic of some of the movies and shows from your childhood. My children loved E.T., which was my favourite film as a child. Cartoons tend to be timeless. Tom and Jerry was created in 1940, but it still delights today. Even if you watch the modern-day remake of a popular show, there’s an opportunity to recall some of the shows you watched as a child.
Make a connection
Having a favourite show creates opportunities to sit down and bond with your child. As they get older, there will be fewer moments where your child will want to just chat and catch up. Being able to talk about a much-loved character, or a plot twist, will open up the channels of communication as you head into the tricky tween and teen years.