The Epic Struggle for the Remote Control. Few things drum up as much controversy at home than what to watch on TV. Even the most well-behaved children can come to blows at the prospect of missing out on their Saturday morning lineup. And most of us wouldn’t want to miss the season finale of our favorite show only to have the ending spoiled on Facebook the next day.
As parents, we’d like to think that when put in the same situation as our children and asked to compromise on what to watch, we would make the more mature decision. But in reality, we’re just as bad.
A few years ago, 60 Minutes asked 1,100 couples what they fight about. Surprisingly, money didn’t take the top spot—the remote did. And not only are we fighting with each other, we’re fighting with our kids too. As we speak, somewhere in the world, a jersey-clad father is in a screaming match with his 5- year-old in a classic game of Sports v. Cartoons.
Thankfully, all of these problems are fixable, if not avoidable. If the old standard tricks aren’t up to snuff (like putting the kids—or your spouse—in time out), technology has your back. Next time the tension is rising and you feel like a remote control battle is on the horizon, try one of these strategies:
Strategy 1: The Executive Veto
This is the simplest solution, but possibly the toughest to execute: you, as the parent, get the ultimate say on what the family does or doesn’t watch. No ifs, ands, or buts. You can either pick the show, choose who gets to choose, or turn the TV off entirely—a bold move, but your move.
The question is, what happens when you and your spouse can’t agree? Time for a new strategy…
Strategy 2: The Master Schedule
This solution will take a bit of planning, but it’s a sure-fire way to ensure that at the end of the day, everyone is happy (or at least no one is crying). With this strategy, everyone gets a designated time to watch their show(s) of choice. Generally, the youngest will get the earlier time slots and the parents have free reign once the little ones are in bed.
With DVR, you can prerecord shows to avoid scheduling conflicts, so no one has to battle it out for time slots. If you need a refresher on how to program your DVR and record shows, visit our DVR help page.
Strategy 3: The Compromise
Sometimes it feels like you need experience as a hostage negotiator to master the art of the compromise—but when it works and you see your family coexisting peacefully AND watching a show together, it’s worth the extra effort every time.
If you haven’t had much success compromising on TV in the past, try setting some ground rules. Here’s a good one to start with: everyone can veto two suggestions, but no more.
Strategy 4: Let the Tech Handle It
Years ago, you needed separate boxes to watch cable on two TVs simultaneously. Now, thanks to a thing called TV Everywhere, you can watch cable TV programming anywhere in the house on any Internet-ready device like a smartphone. That means all you need is a decent pair of headphones, and Dad can watch ESPN on his tablet while the kids watch the new Disney Channel movie.
It’s simple, no one has to watch anything they don’t like, and everyone can stay in the same room. As a plus, TV Everywhere is free with your ImOn Cable TV subscription, so no extra spending required.
Does your family battle it out for the remote? How do you come to a solution? Tell us in
the comments below.