Our family varies in age from just a few months old right up to the ripe old age of 84. Add to that some vast differences in personality and interests and well, family get-togethers can require some careful planning to ensure that we all have a good time. One thing we all have in common though? Our love of Netflix. That’s why a family Netflix night is always a sure winner. Even better, a family Netflix night can open the door to conversations about how to deal with difficult topics.
The trick to a successful Netflix night is finding TV shows and movies that appeal to almost all ages. One of our current favourites is the new reboot of One Day at a Time . I’ll be honest. I was a little bit worried about this one. It was one of my favourite shows when I was a kid and I always get a little bit hesitant that a new version of an old favourite will get ruined for me. I was very happily surprised. It’s fresh and new and yet, has all the charm and family issues of the original. Of course, I was already a fan of Rita Moreno and Justina Machado but the rest of the cast are perfect fits too.
Sitcoms of yesteryear used to bring families together, and this new show begs you to bring back that trend with its laugh out loud humour (and boy oh boy, did we ever laugh out loud!), but more importantly, its very relevant teachable moments that can help you broach tough topics with your family. In this Pinterest perfect world, it’s refreshing to see a real family depicted. It’s a single mom with two kids. The grandmother lives with them but in an area of the apartment that has been curtained off because there aren’t enough bedrooms to go around. They aren’t living in poverty but they certainly can’t afford expensive non-necessities. The family car is repeatedly patched back together. It’s highly relatable with warm poignant moments as well as the fun and laughter.
Another current family favourite is Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. This show serves up dark comedy that your big kids are probably ready for, whether you realize it or not. The three Baudelaire siblings are searching for the truth about their parents’ deaths. In their way are many obstacles and an evil uncle named Count Olaf, played by Neil Patrick Harris. Add in Patrick Warburton as Lemony Snicket, the storyteller, and you’ve got a winning combination that never fails to delight.
Check out more of our favourite Netflix family shows below:
You can be pretty sure that there will be plenty of laughs and plenty of thought-provoking conversation inspired by these family friendly shows. Simple themes like being a good friend, kindness, generosity are perfect for the younger set while the older kids can tackle the tougher ones including sexism, PTSD, immigration, family economics, religion, environmental concerns, and more.
Three Tips for Dealing with Difficult Topics:
1. Create a relaxed atmosphere.
2. Point out some of the situations to your kids or respond when they react to one.
Now, you don’t want to turn this into so much of a discussion session that your family can’t even enjoy the show anymore but if your family is anything like mine, we will have little bursts of emotions while watching TV or movies. “Oh that’s so unfair!” “Wow, what a great idea!” “Hmmm, I don’t like what that character is doing!”. These are perfect jumping off points for a meaningful conversation. Or bring it up after the show. “Hey, remember the part where Susie was being mean to her little sister? That made me really sad.” And then go on to talk about how the situation could have been handled in a better way.
3. Keep the communication two-way and open.
You don’t want this to turn into a lecture. Be sure to listen more than you talk. Ask your kids what they thought of the situation. Let them share what they already know about a particular issue. Get their opinions and ideas. You can fill in the gaps and guide them as needed but let it flow naturally from them.
It’s not always easy to get kids talking, even just about their day! When it can take place in the natural context of an enjoyable family activity, it breaks the ice and gets the conversation flowing.
I’m really excited to be a Netflix Stream Team ambassador once again. This means I get to bring you some fantastic Netflix picks, recipes, DIY ideas, giveaways, and more throughout 2017. Keep visiting my blog for more Netflix content and be sure to check out the hashtag #Streamteam on social media for more great ideas.