Learning from reality TV

I never thought I would say this, but I’m changing my tune about reality TV. More than that, I may even consider rebranding it as a parenting tool – well just some shows.

TV has been responsible for a wonderful chain of events over the weekend. After watching a couple of episodes of The Block with her grandmother during the school holidays, my daughter decided her room needed a ‘completely new look’. She undertook a major tidy, getting rid of loads of old toys and general girl clutter that I’ve been trying to get her to work on for months. She turned her notice board into a ‘mood board’ and is ready for her next design phase. I love her clean new look, although the jury (her dad and I) is still out over her plans to paint her room dark grey with a feature wall in hot pink and white chevron stripes.

Then she and her younger brother cooked us dinner – My Kitchen Rules style. They named their instant restaurant, decorated the dining room and designed menus on the computer. Their main was a family favourite – spaghetti and meatballs. For dessert they were convinced they wanted to make chocolate soufflé. I tried to cushion them against the pain of what I considered inevitable disaster, by telling them lots of very experienced cooks wouldn’t attempt such a tricky dish.

I am very grateful they didn’t listen to me – and that I managed to hold my tongue and refrain from further comment (not always easy for me). Watching people cook on TV had given them a confidence that they could try anything – and they did. Admittedly the soufflés looked better just after they came out of the oven than they did a few minutes later, but they children worked hard and triumphed.

I’m not suggesting we allow our children to become couch potatoes, but I do believe in giving them full reign to explore their interests – maybe I should reconsider those grey walls?