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My boys are all still pretty young, my oldest only 7 years old. When it comes to screen time, we’ve gone from very limited time with videos filled with shapes, faces and soft music to preschool cartoons that taught letters and numbers and into superhero shows and silly movies about talking dogs. My oldest son has slowly been showing more and more interest in “big kid” shows and movies and my husband and I had to really sit down and figure out exactly how much we would allow him to watch and how to talk to him about some of the subjects that were a little more grown up than what he was seeing in the cartoons he was used to watching.
When we started talking, our first question to each other was “How do we know what he’s ready for?!” Seriously-some of these shows have some topics they tackle that are pretty mature despite being for kids. Do we watch everything ahead of time to decide what is appropriate? Do we let him watch anything with a specific rating and just answer questions he has about things he doesn’t understand? What about the shows his friends are telling him about that we feel uncomfortable about?! Turns out, like many things in our relationship we had similar views with just enough difference to keep each other’s eyes open to separate issues.
How DO You Know What Your Child Is Ready For?
This is going to be different for every single family depending on their own views. We are relatively easy going on some subjects but a little more tight lipped on others while we try to maintain our kids’ innocence as long as we can. You know your child and you can gauge what they can handle. I know that my son can handle mild violence (superhero movies) but monsters give him nightmares. A little puppy-love romance is fine but love scenes? #nope.
How Do We Decide What Can Be Watched?
After looking over shows and movie ratings and how they’re decided upon, we felt that our 7 year old could watch any G, Y or Y-7 rated shows or movies without needing to ask. PG is usually fine as long as we check it out first. Anything over that needs to not only be screened first but also watched with us if we agree it’s appropriate. We have found that it works well in our family and our son can stick to the guidelines easily through Netflix. We have set him up his own account that has only kid/family shows and movies, and each one shows the rating right on the title image. This way he doesn’t watch a PG show that wasn’t approved accidentally, he knows which shows he can watch!
He was especially excited that we approved of Lemony Snicketts A Series Of Unfortunate Events! He had seen the trailer for it and couldn’t wait to watch it. We’ve been watching it together and love the quirkiness of Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf! It’s a little darker than the whimsical cartoons he’s used to watching, but he was definitely ready for the transition from “little kid” shows to “big kid” shows!
How Do YOU Decide When Your Child is Ready To Watch “Big Kid” Shows And Movies?
This post was written as part of the Netflix Stream Team. I received a Netflix subscription to facilitate my features, but all opinions are my own.