As parents, it's not uncommon to feel like you're constantly juggling the demands of work, the household, and family. Amidst it all, finding time to bond with your kids can be tricky. Watching sports and other shows together as a family is a great way to spend quality time together.
Courtside Or Couchside—Don't Forget To Co-View!
It's also not uncommon to ask (and even worry) about how much screen time is appropriate for your kids. While the amount of time is important, what and how kids watch are also key parts of the equation. And research shows that co-viewing with your kids can turn screen time into quality time!
Co-Viewing: What It Is and Why It Matters
Co-viewing involves watching media with your child and interacting with what you see. Whether viewing a sporting event, show, or movie—it's a time to be together and share in the experience of seeing, hearing, and even cheering on the same team together!
And co-viewing has real benefits. Similar to bonding with fellow fans in the bleachers, watching collectively provides a shared experience that brings families together. It can also foster communication and support learning. Even more, co-viewing offers opportunities to discuss and analyze media messages, which can help kids develop essential media literacy skills.
Tips for Making Co-Viewing Meaningful
Hit your co-viewing sessions out of the park with these tips:
- Choose the right content. Look for content that aligns with your family's values and interests. Sports lovers? Sensical is a great resource for high-quality, age-appropriate sports content for everyone in the home!
- Focus their attention. Help kids notice details by pointing out specifics, like new uniforms or players, or keeping score together.
- Strengthen their understanding. Ask open-ended questions that encourage kids to think deeper and more critically about what they hear and see. Why do you think the coach called a time-out? What call do you think the referee will make? How do you think that player feels?
- Focus on the positives. Use sports content to emphasize positive values like teamwork and perseverance and reject negative ones, like poor sportsmanship and aggressive behavior.
- Make it relatable. Help kids make connections between the content and their own lives to promote engagement, self-expression, and empathy. That player looks upset! What did you do the last time you were angry about losing?
- Make it interactive. Your living room isn't a movie theater; you don't have to be quiet! Encourage your kids to get up, get moving, and get talking. Model how to ask questions, share thoughts, and express feelings about what they watch.
- Do your best! Understandably, sometimes screens are used as a way to keep kids occupied. Make it more meaningful by giving them a "job" to do as they watch, like being a detective on the lookout for good sportsmanship or a commentator who shares the play-by-plays!
Similar to sports, co-viewing can be a powerful (and fun) way to connect with your kids while supporting their learning and development. Whether enjoying a game together courtside or couchside, use these co-viewing tips to make the most of your time together and create lasting memories!