Let's face it, when you think about reality TV, the first word that comes to mind isn't wholesome. But reality TV is more than just the drunken escapades of "Jersey Shore," the heartbreak and tears of "The Bachelor," or the dramatic cat fights of any of the "Real Housewives" series.
Though editing no doubt takes place on all reality TV shows, many still reveal real people dealing with challenges, facing fears, and attempting to achieve dreams. Who can't relate to that? That's what makes these reality TV programs fun, entertaining, and choice for families to enjoy together.
No show will make your children appreciate their home more than "Survivor." They won't take their bed, the stocked refrigerator, or even their dry clothes for granted after a few episodes of this reality TV classic. The drama is relatively tame, the challenges are exciting, and there is a good lesson in the benefit of getting along with everyone in order to, well, survive!
"Dancing With the Stars"
With the exception of learning the difference between the tango and the quickstep, there isn't a lot of educational benefit to "Dancing With the Stars," but it sure is fun to watch. The outfits may be a bit revealing, but everyone stays covered, and the dances are impressive. You see how much hard work is put into learning just one dance, which is a good lesson -- no matter how much talent you have, practice is key if you want to succeed.
"The Amazing Race"
Most families don't have the budget to travel the world together, but you can do so vicariously when watching "The Amazing Race." Enjoy the nail-biting charge to the finish each week as you watch the contestants visit countries your children may have never heard of before. Add in a little extra education by keeping a globe or map nearby to show them where the country is located, and discuss what language they speak or what form of currency they use.
"Project Runway" is a great show to watch with kids that have an interest in design, fashion, or simply enjoy art. As designers are presented with their challenge for the week, you can engage in a discussion on what you would each do if you were on the show. Then as the completed designs take the runway, pick out your favorites and least favorites, and see if the judges agree with your keen eye!
"America's Got Talent"
"America's Got Talent" is exactly what it sounds like -- a good old fashioned talent show -- but on a much larger scale! Since the days of the "The Gong Show," people young and old have enjoyed watching fellow Americans display their unique abilities to entertain. There are, of course, talent shows that focus specifically on vocal talent like "American Idol," "The Voice,"
and "The X-Factor,"
but "American's Got Talent" has something for everyone . . . from acrobats to animals!
"Here Comes Honey Boo Boo"
Some may scoff at the suggestions that "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" is good clean family fun, and perhaps it is better for older children, but let's take a look at what this show offers. This is quite a unique family. Perhaps they don't live in a fancy house, drive expensive cars, or eat at fine dining establishments; but what they do have is a lot of fun and a lot of love. Though this family may set a poor example in terms of manners and etiquette, they set a wonderful precedent in terms of what really matters -- loving each other.
Whether you have a budding Bobby Flay in your house or you just enjoy good food, "Top Chef" is mouthwatering good time. On "Top Chef," the contestants will amaze you and your children with their intricate creations, and perhaps inspire some delicious dishes on the home front. Have you own little "Top Chef" competition modeled after the show. Someday your children will grow up to cook for themselves, and a little inspiration at a young age might just go a long way.
"The Biggest Loser"
Everyone has their struggles, be it with their weight or other challenges in life. "The Biggest Loser" may focus on contestants who struggle to overcome excessive weight gain, but the dedication and work ethic many of them show to lose weight and become healthy cannot help but make you and your children feel inspired to surpass obstacles in life. The show also gives many tips on the importance of healthy eating and exercise -- valuable information to last a lifetime.
As parents, we often tell our children to work hard in school so when they grow they can get a good job and have a comfortable, satisfying life. This is certainly solid advice; but instead of just getting a job, why not inspire our children to become entrepreneurs like the folks who appear on "Shark Tank"? This is a great show to motivate your kids -- and you -- to think outside the box and come up with the next million dollar idea. Who knew television could lead to creativity?