7 Ways to Watch a Summer of TV Sport with the KidsI've been a Sport fan since childhood and I'm always so excited to see the Olympic Games roll around every four years. I've always wanted to attend the Olympics in person but I was heavily pregnant with LM during London 2012 so that's still on the bucket list for now. Like the rest of the world I've watched the Olympics and Paralympics on television since I was small but, with three children at home, two of whom have quite strong ideas on what we view, I know it's going to be harder this Summer. Add the football European Championships, Wimbledon, Tour de France and Athletics European Championships into the mix and I've been thinking of a few ways to make keeping up with a Summer of Sport easier when you have children who want to watch Peppa Pig or Andy's Prehistoric Adventures.
1. Make it a learning opportunity
If your children are anything like Bud then they're sponges with a million questions to ask everyday so I know that I'll be facing lots of these about the various events ahead. Obviously international competition has all of the flags, national anthems, coloured kits and personalities which, hopefully, will be of interest to Bud and his interest will be piqued. I'm fully prepared to need Google to answer some of his questions, but that's an almost daily occurrence in our house! We've stuck a Euro 2016 wallchart on the wall in the kitchen and it's going to be Bud's job to write the scores in after each game.
2. Get them cheering
One of my biggest sporting loves is Track and Field and I've been known to get a little... animated... when watching it. LM knows that when people are running we shout 'come on' quite a bit and then we cheer when our favourite wins. Bud has been studying Great Britain in school this year so I know he'll be really keen to follow them on TV. I'll be stressing the 'Team GB' angle and getting him to watch out for the familiar flag. I think they'll both love getting involved in the excitement.
3. Dress them up
Whether it''s a football shirt for Euro 2016 or just wearing red, white and blue to support Team GB during the Olympics, my children love dressing up. LM is rather keen on having her face painted at the moment so I think that those will be making an appearance in support too.
4. Get out and try the sports
We're looking for a sports activity for Bud at the moment but neither he nor us know what so I'm hoping that the Olympics, especially, might inspire him to give one or two a go. If he's interested we'll book a few taster sessions for him to try them out in the hope that he might find an activity he loves. I have a feeling LM will be entranced by the gymnastics and will want to try that too. Alternatively we'll be getting the balls, bats and out on the trampoline for a mini Olympics in our garden.
5. Adopt a country
As mentioned in the first point, a tournament like Euro 2016 or the Olympic Games can inspire real learning opportunities so why not pick a country and theme a day around them? You can eat food, look at videos or photos from their and find out a few facts about your chosen land, it's only fair to support their sportsmen and women in their endeavours that day too!
6. Divide and conquer
I'm a bigger Olympics fan than Ian but I know he'll want to have a couple of nights out watching the football in the pub with his friends. If he takes the kids while I watch the All Around Women's Gymnastics final, he's more than welcome to a couple of matches with the lads!
7. If all else fails, TV On Demand and highlights programmes
All of the main TV channels will be covering at least some of the sport this Summer and they all have effective highlights packages in the evenings and sometimes in the morning too. Record them for post-bedtime viewing if you're out for the day or the kids really can't stand anymore. Rio de Janeiro is four hours behind us so late evenings will be prime time for some of the blue riband events there, perfect for when the kids are in bed.
I'm not suggesting that we'll be watching sport all day, every day over the Summer but I'm really looking forward to seeing the action. I'm hoping that, ultimately, our children will become active participants and fans of a wide range of sports and being exposed to them at an early age may well help with this. If you would like a calendar of forthcoming events check out the BBC Sport 2016 Calendar.
Will you be watching this Summer, which event are you most excited about?