About two years ago, my daughter Claire (13th birthday tomorrow!) and I started binge watching episodes of shows that we both loved. It all started with the discovery of Gilmore Girls. Claire had just turned 11, and we started watching one episode every evening while snuggling on the couch. Thankfully there were 7 seasons, which allowed us to experience at least one hour per evening and 2-3 hours every weekend together (for a total of 153 episodes)! The characters, story lines, and topics for discussion were highly relevant for mothers and daughters, but what was most special for Claire and I was the shared indulgence in prioritizing one hour together every night.
After Gilmore Girls, we enjoyed Parenthood (6 seasons with 103 episodes) and Dave (my husband) often watched with us! After that, it became an obsession to find a show for all 3 of us—one for Claire and I, one for Dave and I, and one for me! Anne With an E is fabulous, and of course, never forget about Downton Abbey—it was our Sunday night indulgence for 4 seasons.
Our special time as a family started since Claire was about 1. I still can hear the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme song. Every evening, I remember Dave and I on the love seat with Claire during her toddler years watching The Good Night Show on the SPROUT channel. We all sang along with Nina and Star before putting Claire to bed at the same time every night.
As a pediatric ENT, I am forced to recognize my age when I no longer recognize shows that most of my patients watch: Paw Patrol, PJ Masks, and Doc McStuffins. I often call it “Doc McMuffin,” and that shows you just how much I know.
I still remember watching Little House on the Prairie when first arriving to the U.S. and starting 5th grade. So many shows, so little time. Our memories of shows well before NETFLIX undoubtedly will remind us of our childhood and various times in our lives, with our families, loved ones, and others.
You may enjoy my article in ENT Today on how Netflix can help you achieve strategic recovery, and increase bonding with your spouse/significant other and children.
As a family, we are currently enjoying Arrested Development. Every family member may have preferences on what show they would love together, which will require some trial and error, as well as investing some time to watch a few trailers or the first couple of episodes. We love topics that include people and relationships, nature and animals, in both fictional or documentary films and TV series.
As a family, what we enjoy is very different from what Claire chooses for herself and what Dave would choose that I may not enjoy. For Dave and Claire, they love Sci-fi shows, particularly the series Lost in Space.
Dave and I watch shows that are too violent for kids, but that’s our evening indulgence after Claire goes to bed, and in the past year we have enjoyed Mr. Sunshine, Westworld, Reign, Tudors, Versailles, and Medici. I LOVE historical drama of various countries and cultures. Dave has a bad habit of reading ahead on his phone when next to me and informing me when another one of Henry the VIII’s wives would lose her life!
For Claire she enjoyed Mako Mermaids, KC Undercover, Shake it up, and few others. She does like to watch Minecraft and Roblox on YouTube, and some DIY crafts, especially how to make slime.
Simply search for “best Netflix shows and movies for families” and you will find great suggestions. The opportunity as a family is to have a discussion after the show or movie, sharing thoughts and perspectives on various topics.
Two weeks ago we hosted five 12-13 year old young adolescents for a sleep over, and we watched Love, Rosie. I must admit I couldn’t let this great movie simply be enjoyed with popcorn, without a post movie discussion with these amazing young girls about the impact of unplanned pregnancy during high school. The girls actively engaged in a conversation about their reality, what it’s like as a 7th grader in 2019, and their insights about relationships between boys and girls. I learned a great deal from them.
Ever since the innovation of television, families decades before us have enjoyed bonding in front of a then “box” and now flat screen, whether through sports, cartoons, children’s shows, sitcoms, movies, talent shows, music and movie award shows (I was induced on the night of the Oscars in 2006, so it’s a tradition for us to watch it, plus Claire likes to see the gowns).
As children continue to have perhaps too much screen time, make an intentional decision as a family on what screen time can mean for you to increase bonding and understand each other better.