17 September 2007

How to keep your kids happy while you watch football

Amazon: My Football BookBill figured out how to keep his daughter entertained (but engaged) while he watched the game:

My son Griffin (2) is crazy about football - almost every shirt he owns has a football on it - but my daughter Erin (4) never showed much interest in sports and would sometimes complain that she wanted to watch "her" shows while Daddy was watching a game.

One day after a penalty on the field I said, "Erin, did you see that zebra?" The two of them looked at the TV and screamed excitedly when the official trotted onto the screen in his black-and-white striped shirt. Now every time I watch a game, they happily go on "zebra watch".

I came up with it at the beginning of the pro football season, but this approach should work for most sports; baseball and soccer are the only exceptions I can think of.

I, too, watched a lot of TV football and tennis with my Dad when I was a kid. I'm not a sports fan (never was) but I still look back on those times with a lot of warmth.

More: Hacks for sports-loving (or -playing) families

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Hey! I think this tip will help ME to watch football, too! HAhrhARH!!!

Anytime I need (need!) to watch a soccer game, I put a DVD or some other kid video on my laptop and my son sits happily next to me, each of use engrossed in our own screen.

I do the same with the occasional NASCAR race I watch. Not only do I know they're 4-5 hour marathons (excellent time to get some laundry done), my son and I talk about colors, numbers, and why it's not cool to crash a real car.

Nachos. It's all about the nachos. I make a nice giant tray of them and that holds us over nibbling happily for most of the game.

My kids are happy to watch their TV in the basement when they become bored with my football game.

Hey, I wonder if that zebra trick would work well with wives, too?

I watched a lot of tennis with my dad growing up and of course, cricket (grew up in India). My son is 3 yo and I just got him to watch the US Open--told him to keep an eye on the yellow ball. Got him a racket after the first few days and he loved it. When the Wimbledon was on, he did not quite have the patience to sit still. Glad he does now.

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