What did you love when you were a child? What are you hoping to introduce your children to and have them love? Which of those are working and what do they love that is new to you? (also, the balance of finding the right timing to introduce something you are dying to introduce.)
My son (now 9 and headed into 4th grade in the fall) asked why we were different in our media consumption (maybe not those words) than his friends’ families. We admitted we are older, whiter, and geekier. (Side note: the boy’s friends tend to have young Latinx parents. Most of the boys are the oldest or middle of several siblings. The girls’ friends are more diverse in gender, ethnicity, and family make-up: a youngest child of a blended family, the much younger brother of older sisters, the boy with an older father and younger mother, etc., as well as young parents with, as she likes to remind us, grandparents about our age. Anyway…)
Computerguy was a big fan of the original iteration of BattleBots. Enough so that he showed the kids old videos, we followed the first new season, and since have gone to a couple of tapings. The boy loves it! He knows all the bots and their trainers.
We do family movie/game night on Fridays. We take turns choosing an activity. We’ve introduced movies to our kids this way. They have enjoyed The Swiss Family Robinson and Escape to Witch Mountain, 2 of my favorites, but haven’t run for the books or wanted to re-watch them or anything.
The kids have been on a new Pixar appreciation run. The had enjoyed DVDs of Pixar shorts and Inside Out, but the boys was never a Cars fan in spite of it being all the rage when he was little (It was hard to find little boys things that weren’t Cars themed). He was much more interested in Star Wars (which he did like early much to my spouse’s delight) and shorter pieces like Dora and Diego and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. And Pokemon. It took our kids a long time to like movies as well as TV shows. The kids are surprised when we tell them we used to get babysitters so we could go see the new Pixar films. The boy is entranced by Up right now and we watched The Incredibles before we went to see The Incredibles 2 (and all 4 of us agreed we liked the second one even more).
Computerguy and young Mathkid did a run of Roald Dahl books this year. That was fun.
So, the boy likes some of the things we like (and I’ll talk about a few more in the both kids section), but he also likes a lot of newer stuff. His favorite books to read himself are the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. He loves Captain Underpants. His new obsession this summer are the Origami Yoda books.
He loves the Paddington films. I had loved the books, but missed really getting the kids into them. It’s fun to see this new experience (and the films really are terrific!)
He loves YouTube and has favorite YouTubers. We try to keep a watch on what they are, and they seem to be pretty unobjectionable so far. Most of them are either game players or funny videos.
He loves Teen Titans Go!, and I have to admit that I appreciate it, too. There are so many references to the 80s, that it sucks this parent in. Some day we will show him The Breakfast Club and My Cousin Vinnie and he will recognize them from TTG! (Also, Frogger and Oregon Trail and a ton of other passing references.)
One of his most interesting things to me is Wild Kratts. He has loved this show since he was small, and he still does. He and I were talking about it this morning because there were new episodes (an exciting morning!). He was waxing nostalgic about watching it with his grandfather and sister before he was even in school, and he still loves it. We have our Tivo set up so that it records all the episodes and deletes none, and he still goes back and watches them. And he knows more about animals than I ever will. He can pull up facts about animals anytime, anywhere (like during jeopardy), and it’s pretty much all thanks to Wild Kratts.
So we will continue to share with him the things we love, and we will continue to learn to love the things he finds. There is such an abundance of imaginative stuff out there. What a world to discover!