Disclosure: I am part of Netflix’s #StreamTeam and I have agreed to regularly share some of my favorite things about Netflix in exchange for some goodies and experiences. As always, the thoughts written here are my own.
Just like my wife and I try to watch the same shows at the end of our busy days (I like to call it Date Night, Every Night), we prefer our two boys watch the shows together rather than retreating to their own devices every evening.
It was easy when they were younger. For their first viewing years, our eldest (by three years) controlled the television because he was the only one that cared. I still sing the songs set to a featured piece of classical music on Little Einsteins, and I’ll never forget a friend of my oldest bursting into tears as Annie translated Baby Chimp’s feelings as she sang, “I am lost and I am looking for mom and dad” to Bedřich Smetana’s Moldau. Neither boy remembers the incident, but both still cringe when I sing Annie’s infamous line.
The following years were also pretty easy as the little brother followed the big brother’s lead (as little brothers tend to do). We cycled through Sid the Science Kid, Dinosaur Train, and Super Why. All of these television shows were entertaining and, at least, a little educational for the boys and palatable for me.
The inevitable happened when my oldest was about 9. He was tired of “baby shows” and wanted to watch something for more mature audiences. We tried Phineas and Ferb (thumbs up from the older, meh from the younger) and Miles of Tomorrow Land (thumbs up from the younger, meh from the older). We were saved by Brain Games, a show actually so fun that even my wife and I would sit down to watch, though the boys definitely wondered whether I would let them watch the “Battle of the Sexes” episode (season 4, episode 5).
These days, our oldest (nearly 12) really only wants to watch sports, while the youngest (nearly 9) still loves the television shows from his youth. We still hold strong on them negotiating to watch the same show so every night is a discussion on how they will split their TV time. The non-sports time is usually taken up by the current season of The Voice, MasterChef Junior, or America’s Got Talent. Entertainment now reigns supreme over education, but every now and then, when the oldest is not around, the youngest gets to watch whatever he wants. His current favorite is Octonauts, a show that I have not even seen a full episode of and one that I certainly don’t know any of the songs or even of the characters … he seems to be just fine with that. This television show is all his own.