Where’s the remote? Great TV shows to watch together as a family!

“Are those TV shows Survivor and The Amazing Race still a thing? Why??” questioned an acquaintance of mine earlier this week in a not-so-subtle Facebook jab at us simple-minded folks who do, in fact, still watch “those” shows.

Truth be told, I do still watch these shows. One, because I enjoy them and two, because they’re great shows to watch as a family. Now that my kids are 9 and 10 and willing to watch something other than “Phineas & Ferb”, we’ve discovered a number of programs that we can enjoy together. Often times, watching these shows will result in lively conversations—it’s great fun to see the kids analyze and discuss what they’ve seen and learned.

The Amazing Race” has quickly become a family favorite in our house. Categorized as a “reality television game show”, it has all the suspense and competition without all the usual dramatic shenanigans. The show starts with 11 teams of two (who are married, friends, siblings, etc.) and documents their race around the world while completing tasks, using various modes of transportation and following clues. The reason I think this is a great family show is because it focuses the value of teamwork, offers you a glimpse into other parts of the world, cultures, people and is, in reality, quite educational. I love this show. Fall 2016 premiere date from CBS is still TBD.

Have you ever seen “Master Chef Jr.“? This one blows my mind. This show is similar to the cooking competitions that pit amateur chefs against each other, except the contestants on this show are kids ages 8-12. EIGHT! These kids are cooking soufflés from scratch when I was still learning how to use the toaster. This program is fun, competitive and inspiring. It’s awakened a curiosity in my kids about different foods and learning to cook. #winning! The current season just ended, but you can watch previous seasons On Demand FOX.

When I was growing up, I always wanted a treehouse. A backyard secret hideaway for me and my friends (no younger sisters allowed!). “Treehouse Masters” on Animal Planet takes the coveted cubbyhole to an entirely new level. Working together creatively with the family and the builders, this team of professionals constructs unique, whimsical and often over-the-top retreats. It will definitely get you thinking, and maybe even building together? Episodes are frequently re-run and easy to DVR. Otherwise, check animalplanet.com for an upcoming schedule.

Depending on your family’s interest, it’s easy to find a show to watch together. After polling my friend’s for their favorites, here are a few pics for family-friendly reality TV: “The Voice”, “Dancing with the Stars”, “Project Runway”, “American Idol”, “Nova”, “MythBusters”, “Flea Market Flip”, “The Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan”, “American Ninja Warrior”, “Too Cute!” and “Four Weddings”. And lastly, one of my personal favorites, “Funniest Home Videos”. My dream would be to boot the host and just show the videos, but it’s still wholesome family fun.

Believe it or not, there are lessons to be learned from some these shows. If you want something badly enough, you will push yourself to achieve it—beyond what you think you’re capable of. Dedication and perseverance is a wonderful lesson for kids. Even if it did come from a silly reality show.


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