Monday, November 1, 2010

4 Lessons Your Child Can Learn From Watching Reality TV

As a Mother, I am always looking for fun activities our family can do together that also provide teachable moments. A favorite activity in almost any household, regardless of age, is watching television.

I have a personal obsession with reality television shows. I have always loved biographies. I think it’s utterly fascinating to learn how a person started as an average Joe and wound up a movie star or an inventor or President. The choices they made, the hardships they endured and the adversity they overcame to achieve their dreams and become a success.

Reality shows can get a bad rap and Jersey Shore and The Bachelor may deserve the criticism. But there are many reality TV shows that can give your kids real insight into how to solve life issues, address problems and reiterate good old family values. Being the Mommy Blogger that I am... I felt i should point out some observations...

Lesson #1: Your Health is Everything

On NBC’s hit show, The Biggest Loser, 12 overweight contestants attempt to lose weight and fight for a $250,000 cash prize. Over a 12-week season, trainers show them how to lose weight and take control of their life.

They do not condone fad diets or surgery. Instead they show obese people how to achieve their goals through hard physical work in the gym and learning how to prepare and eat healthy foods. This show provides crucial information on health and nutrition that my child can carry with him for life. You can also clearly see what a lifetime of bad decisions gets you.

Lesson #2: Life is an adventure. Take risks and chances.

The Amazing Race has contestants racing in pairs around the globe on all kinds of crazy adventures. Yak races in China, cliff diving in Hawaii, selling fish in a Japanese market, and scaling castle walls in Germany.

The world is a big place full of mystery, excitement and adventure. Even if you can’t speak the same language, people are the same no matter where you go. And you’d be surprised how easy it is to communicate if you just try to understand each other. There are so many wondrous places and amazing sights on our fantastic planet. Don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone.

Lesson #3: It’s hard to get to the top and even harder to stay there

HBO’s Hard Knocks follows a different NFL football team each season as they go through training camp and prepare for the upcoming season. This reality show is peppered with spicy language, but if you can overlook that, you really see how dedicated these players are to their craft.

They spend hours in the gym getting their bodies in top physical condition. But beyond that, they have a playbook the size of a dictionary to memorize with their team’s secret plays and they watch hours upon hours of game tape studying their opponents. Only the smartest and best make the cut. Slack off even the slightest bit and you are out. Much like life, you have to be dedicated, resilient and relentless in your pursuit to not only achieve your position but to stay on top.

Lesson 4: Social skills are as important as book smarts

Survivor pits the smart against those who just think they are smart. City dwellers against country farmers. Old against young. The motto of the game? Outwit. Outlast. Outplay.

What Survivor allows your child to observe if that often, it’s doesn’t matter how great your strategy is or how physically strong you are, but how well you can get along with your tribe that keeps you in the game. Social skills are crucial to your success in life. Whether you are a student in a college fraternity or an employee in an office, how you can get along in a group will determine if you end up President or just a member of the team. Learning how to interact, engage and endear yourself to others can pay off big.

Pair that skill with a college education and the world’s your oyster.