Looking for some fun new shows to try out while your kids are home from school this summer?
Or maybe you and your husband are looking for some new TV shows to watch without all the unnecessary drama or trashy plot lines but, frankly, Netflix seems to be all out.
It’s Rebecca here on the blog today. When I was growing up, we didn’t really watch TV. But since my mom was a speaker by the time I was in Jr. High, going on tour with her was doubly exciting because it meant we got to watch TV together in the hotel room before her talk!
And we realized something as we were watching these shows: they were starting important conversations that were really hard to have organically. In hotel rooms we got so hooked on the show What Not to Wear that we started watching it on YouTube on Saturday mornings. And we would talk about how to make good clothing choices, and how to look like you respected yourself, and how to give the right impression to others. It was great!
Now, most of the shows we watched back then are horribly out of date now, 10 years later. But since so many families do watch TV together, we thought why not give you some ideas for some great shows you can watch that won’t just pass the time or help you have a few laughs, but may actually help the people watching become better people along the way?
So much entertainment these days is just a time-wasting exercise. So I hope this helps give you some ideas of what you might be able to swap so that your down time is relaxing but also inspiring!
All of the shows we have included here provide really positive messages overall. But of course, before showing anything to your kids it’s always wise to go over the material yourself first so you can make sure that it fits with your family’s individual philosophy when it comes to what content you watch at what age.
With that said, here we go: 5 TV shows to watch as a family that aren’t just entertaining, but can also help you become better people:
1. How Clean Is Your House
Kim and Aggie travel across the UK to help home owners with absolutely terribly filthy and cluttered homes clean up. The term “bum fodder” is used quite frequently.
More than just being a show about the shock value of how dirty these homes are, what we love about How Clean is Your House is that Kim and Aggie really show a redemption story for each of these people. The messy homeowners aren’t ridiculed the whole show–they’re given the chance to start afresh, they’re encouraged to keep it up, and they’re given the tools they need to do so. Plus, as a viewer, you learn a TON along the way! I’ve been making Kim and Aggie’s cleaning solution recipes the entire time I’ve been married and swear by their all-purpose natural cleaner.
How Clean is Your House is off the air now, but many full episodes can be found on YouTube if you want to give it a search!
The benefits of How Clean Is Your House:
- Starts easy conversations about what you want the house to look like/level of cleanliness.
- Teaches the importance of regular cleaning since the bacteria counts are scary!
- You absolutely CANNOT watch this show without the insatiable need to clean a bathroom afterwards. So you’ll get some cleaning done!
- Is a great educational tool in how to clean–gives kids and spouses with less experience practical training in different cleaning methods while still being incredibly entertaining.
- A hopeful message of teamwork–no matter how big the mess, if we all chip in we can tackle this together!
2. Tidying Up with Marie Kondo
(I promise not all of these are about cleaning.)
Marie Kondo wrote a book called The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up that went absolutely wild. People loved this book–it combated both the consumerist lifestyle that is sucking the joy out of everyday living for so many while also not going to the far extreme that a lot of minimalist books and blogs tout.
So when she was given the chance to create a Netflix series where she helps people walk through the tidying concepts in her book, it’s no surprise that the series blew up too!
While How Clean is Your House is really about cleaning itself, Tidying Up tackles more of the issues around clutter, consumerism, and our general lack of regard for the belongings we have. Kim and Aggie will teach you how to scrub a toilet–Marie Kondo will show you how to properly fold your clothes and organize your dresser drawers.
The great thing about this show in particular is how family dynamics are discussed so openly. It’s clear that each person needs to take responsibility for their belongings, and families where only one person does all the tidying are quickly shown that it is not sustainable in the long-term! Yes, there are some weird elements–you do not have to talk to your clothes or bless your house or any of that. But they do treat faith well, and I dare you to watch episode 3 (I think that’s the one with the Christian widow) without bawling.
Benefits of Tidying Up:
- Provides very easy-to-follow, practical instructions for how to keep a house tidy.
- Emphasizes the need for the whole family to be involved!
- Teaches responsibility for taking care of your items and being grateful for what you have.
- Makes tidying seem like less of a chore
- Combats consumerism and the cluttered lifestyle that we often have in Western society by emphasizing gratitude and mindfulness instead of hoarding and convenience when it comes to our belongings.
We’ve written about Supernanny before, but this is a truly, truly great show. Jo Frost, a woman with over 15 years of experience as a nanny when the show first aired, is called in to help desperate parents get a handle on their children’s behaviour. She handles tantrums, hitting, biting, swearing, and more. But what we love about Supernanny isn’t that she gets the job done–it’s that the goal isn’t just to stop the problem behaviour, it’s to bring the family closer together and help them connect emotionally on a deeper level.
In fact, when I was studying child development in psychology at university, I was frequently given Supernanny clips to watch as examples of how to properly discipline children. Best homework ever!
Supernanny has created a youtube channel where they are posting past episodes which, even though they’re from a while ago, still hold up today! In fact, Connor and I are watching it together as we prepare for our kid that’s coming in October and it’s helping us have a lot of great conversations about how we want to parent as a team.
Benefits of Supernanny:
- Positive message about the importance of family, open communication, and emotional vulnerability with each other.
- Fantastic low-stress way for parents to talk through parenting strategies they would like to implement more.
- Can be an easy way to bring up problems with the children’s behaviour in a non-accusatory way (E.g., “I’ve noticed that Ryan sometimes has tantrums the way that Dennis did in that episode, especially after coming home from school.”)
- Provides opportunities for children and teenagers to get into their parents’ heads and understand the importance of discipline, boundaries, and respect for each member of the family.
- Starts conversations with children about what behaviours are acceptable and unacceptable and why they are that way.
- Shows teenagers the importance of finding a partner who would be a good parent!
- Helps parents talk through marriage issues that may be impacting their parenting style.
What if I told you that not all teenagers rebel?
It’s Me or the Dog is a fun show about dog training. If you’re a family with pets and you’re having a hard time getting everyone on board with the responsibility, this one is for you!
When Connor and I adopted our rescue dog Winston, he came with a lot of issues. Watching It’s Me or the Dog has actually really helped us curb a lot of his anxieties, teach him to obey, and give him more confidence!
A lot of families are torn apart by pets that just don’t behave well. It adds stress, one family member feels like it’s all on their shoulders, and spending time altogether is less fun when there’s a dog who might nip or bark without provocation. This is a great show for anyone with pets, and especially for families who are considering getting a dog in the future but want their kids to understand how big of a responsibility it is. You can watch it on their official YouTube channel!
Benefits of It’s Me or the Dog:
- Emphasizes the need for the whole family to be involved (kids have to take care of the dog, too!)
- Shows the need for discipline and repetitive practice to train a dog to behave well–no more laziness!
- Teaches life lessons in the importance of sticking with a plan, addressing problems early, and putting in hard work so later you can reap the rewards.
- Helps couples talk about how they can create a more peaceful home environment if pets have gotten out of hand or have become barriers to intimacy (it happens more often than you may think!)
5. The Big Family Cooking Showdown
Somehow the Brits just do reality shows well! In this show, three members of a family form a team to do cooking challenges. Some of the challenges are set by the hosts, and sometimes they’re invited to make their own family recipes. What’s fun about the show is that you learn a TON about cooking, but also about how to make do when you only have a few ingredients available. And kids will see what good cooking looks like–and may even be motivated to make some meals themselves, and set the table so the presentation is awesome!
You also see families operate under stress, and you learn about family dynamics, what to do if one person seems to be dominating all the others, and how to speak up. Plus the whole reasons that these families are on the show is because food is a central part of their family life. It’s comforting. It’s something that brings them together. That can start great conversations about what kids would like mealtimes to be like, or what food defines your family.
This one’s fully streamable on Netflix.
Benefits of The Big Family Cooking Showdown:
- Shows kids how food is actually cooked, and how you can cook from scratch from just raw ingredients
- Teaches about frugality and creativity with food
- Helps kids see how food can be a part of your family traditions and your family culture
- Starts conversations about resolving conflict and family dynamics when under stress
I truly believe that many of my own convictions about life came from the conversations we had after watching these shows as teens.
Katie and I both had very firm ideas about what’s okay to wear and what’s not, without getting into weird purity culture conversations about modesty, because we watched What Not to Wear with Mom and just talked. Both of us have very firm ideas about parenting (and I became a better baby-sitter for it!) because we watched Supernanny so much, and it’s helped me feel more prepared for our own baby (and Connor and I are binging it together now so he sees it!). And we honestly did learn most of our cleaning techniques from How Clean is Your House.
Yes, some of these shows invariably show family groupings that you may not be comfortable with, but watching them also is a way to start those conversations about how we can approach families with different lifestyles.
Besides, they are VERY fun to watch. So give it a try! You just may find some interesting conversations starting, too.
Let me know–do you have shows you like to watch with your kids/teens? Or maybe something you watch with your husband? Or do you have opinions about any of these shows? Let’s talk in the comments!
Like this post so far? You should also check out: