Super Bowl Sunday, Family-Friendly Style

5 ways to focus on fun and downplay awkward viewing moments.

Parker Barry

Watching the Super Bowl with your kids can be a fun experience, but it may include some awkward “I wish they wouldn’t have seen that” moments. Sexist commercials, displays of poor sportsmanship and scary injuries can make some parents want to throw their own penalty flags at the TV.

For many of the estimated 100 million Americans who will tune in, the Super Bowl is an annual family event. Parents know that kids will soak in everything they see on the screen during and in between gameplay. As a result, many parents have mixed emotions about whether the benefits of the fun in watching this American sports extravaganza outweigh kids’ exposure to some of its more iffy content.

Still, with a bit of pre-planning, Super Bowl Sunday can be a great day for kids and adults to hang out, enjoy fun party food and watch a competition between some amazingly dedicated athletes.

Try these five ways to focus on family fun and downplay awkward viewing moments during this year’s Super Bowl:

  • 1. If turning off or muting the TV during commercials is out of the question — the commercials are the reason to turn in for a lot of grown-ups! — then while the commercials are on, in another room let the kids record their own commercials to share later. The same goes for halftime show performances if you’re concerned they may not be little-kid friendly.
  • 2. Include party foods like tacos, personal pizzas, mini-sandwiches or an ice cream sundae bar that involve DIY compiling, stacking and decorating to keep kids creatively occupied and less glued to the screen.
  • 3. Have football-inspired crafts on hand for kids to make during the game.
  • 4. Play a gambling-free version of squares or another game that takes a lighthearted approach to guessing the scores at each quarter. Give small prizes for each quarter’s closest guess.
  • 5. Take time to explain the rules of football to kids during the game, especially rules that help keep players safe.

Parents may also want to brief kids in simple, age-appropriate language about any negatives the see like poor sportsmanship, stereotyping or hyper-consumerism as well as positives, such as the athletes’ teamwork and the coaches’ strategy.

With these ideas in play, Super Bowl Sunday can score big points with the entire family, no penalty flags necessary.


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