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Expert Tips for Watching Sports with your Little Ones

By Bo Young Lee

Director of Noggin Content Marketing Strategy & Mom of 2

Is it okay for my young child to watch televised sports with the family?

Yes, with a few modifications. Watching a televised game at home can be a fun, easy, and inexpensive way to share your love of sports (plus, no bathroom lines, and the snacks can be way healthier). But it’s an experience that should definitely be changed up for the littlest of sports fans. Commercials, the unpredictability of any live event, and hours of screen time could create a few fumbles. Read these tips before tip-off – or kick-off, first pitch, puck drop, etc. – to make watching at home a big win.

Keep talking.

Experts agree that active co-viewing can boost the benefits of screen time. That goes for televised sports too. While watching together, you can teach your child about the rules, explain the game in real time, or talk about the different players. You can even use the game as a way to have a conversation about teamwork or fair play.

And don’t forget to model good behavior. Your little fans (of you, not the game!) are watching how you cheer on your team – or jeer the other side.

Avoid commercials & halftime performances.

As we know, the Super Bowl specifically is a huge cultural moment for commercials and halftime shows – but the intended audience is mostly for an adult crowd. When the game pauses for commercials, consider muting the TV, and use it as a time for a family break. Take a stretch, refill on snacks, or use the restroom.

Worried about too much screen time or keeping the kids up late? If you decide to nix the halftime performance, you could use that as an ending point for the little ones. (Just remember to discuss it beforehand with them!)

Look for a kid-friendly broadcast.

Some games may have broadcasts designated just for kids. For instance, Super Bowl LVIII will be on Nickelodeon, which will feature funny graphics and reporting and commentary from familiar characters, including SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, and more. Plus, kid- and family-focused commercials will replace the more adult-centric ones.

For other games when this option isn’t available, you could consider watching the event the next day with your kids. That way, you know which parts to focus on – and which ones to pass. Or just hit the highlights with them in a kid-friendly wrap-up.

My kids also offered their top tips for watching sports.

“Make sure your kids know who the teams are because it’ll make it more fun.” – Maddy, 9 years old

This tip is less of a factor for families who regularly follow their favorite teams. But if your family only watches the Super Bowl or other championship games, this is a good point. Younger kids may not be as familiar with the teams, and getting to know them and the players can get children more excited about the game.

“Only watch basketball.” – Toby, 6 years old

While this specific recommendation may not be helpful, it’s always a good idea to follow your child’s lead or interest. A lot of my kids’ interests in sports stem from their friends. And as parents, we know the importance of encouraging their following – and of course playing – sports that spark their interests.

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About Ailey

Since its first historic performance in 1958, Ailey has been innovating and evolving the perception of American modern dance throughout the world. Noggin is honored to partner with them in helping kids all over get up moving, learning, and expressing their feelings through dance. Because movement has meaning when we dance how we’re feeling!