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Meghan Gesswein: Parents, Young Children Bond Over TV Shows

SpongeBob remains a staple, but tastes are changing with Man v. Food

We are a family of television watchers. We have shows that we love and watch on a regular basis, shows that we like and watch when we have the time, and shows that we watch over and over and over again, such as SpongeBob SquarePants and Dino Dan, because our kids force us to.

From the Food Network and the Golf Channel to Nick Jr. and National Geographic, the programs that we enjoy are diverse. We even had our wedding officiant work Friends quotes into our wedding ceremony.

What’s nice about the fact that the big boys are getting “older,” at 6 and almost 4, is that they’re starting to enjoy some of the shows that my husband and I enjoy. We still watch our fair share of SpongeBob and The Upside Down Show, but every so often they delight me and ask to watch a show that I enjoy. Or, at the very least, they are starting to watch shows that don’t involve cartoon characters. Or tween idols.

Some of Dylan’s current favorite shows are Dual Survival, Billy the Exterminator and The Office. Zach loves to watch Deadliest Catch and any kind of sporting event. I was delighted the other day when they asked to watch Man v. Food. On a normal day I love to watch traveling food shows, but since I’ve been on this low-carb diet, I especially love to watch them. Apparently I am a glutton for punishment.

But I figured out how to make this work in my favor. Aside from not having to watch Yo Gabba Gabba on endless repeat, my picky eaters have been having Man v. Food competitions at dinnertime. So instead of spending 30 minutes battling with them about eating all of the food on their plate, they “race” each other to see who will win the competition. It’s a win-win situation: They have fun eating, and I have a relaxing meal. Now I just need the host to partake in a vegetable-based challenge.

And in case you’re worried about them, my kids don’t spend all of their time in front of the boob tube. If they did, they wouldn’t have time to play their Wii, which takes up the other eight waking hours of their day. Just kidding. Kind of. But seriously, they don’t watch TV all day long. Usually.

— Meghan Gesswein is a stay-at-home wife and mom to three young boys. A New York transplant, she has lived in Santa Barbara for the last 14 years. She writes on her personal site, MeghanGWine, and is a staff writer and special events editor for the online magazine Curvy Girl Guide. She is often sarcastic and her work should be read with a sense of humor. And also a cocktail. You can follow her on Twitter: @MeghanGWine, friend her on Facebook or reach her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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