One of the first conversations my husband and I had when we found out I was pregnant (after the one about naming our child after Batman) was that he wondered whether or not the kid would be a nerd like us. After assuring him that The Force was strong with this fetus, I thought about this myself.
Would our child be as nerdy as we are? How could we foster this love of our favorite things in our child?
In the last two years we’ve come up with a few ideas.
Make it a tradition
Connect a movie or television show with a particular event.
Every year for my daughter’s birthday we buy her a Studio Ghibli film (e.g. My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, and Kiki’s Delivery Service) and a toy to go with it. We absolutely loved seeing her roaring along with Totoro during her first viewing. You could also watch a movie around a particular date or holiday, like The Nightmare Before Christmas on Halloween, Star Wars on May the 4th, or the Back to the Future movies on the month and day Marty McFly arrives in the future or past.
Age is a factor
Appropriateness aside, consider the amount of enjoyment your child will get from something.
Obviously a story without much action won’t catch a four-year-old’s attention, but consider trying again in a few years. After the first ten minutes of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, your child might be aimlessly babbling and rolling around in the bed much like mine was last weekend, but she might find it a tad more interesting down the road.
The most important thing is that you want to share these things with them.
Remember that it is about spending time together, not so much how they react to your favorite fandom. They will remember fondly being cuddled up on the couch watching Return of the King with mom and dad or the time you all dressed up like wizards and had an epic duel.
Don’t “Force” it
There’s a story Kevin Smith tells in his podcast, The Secret Stash, about showing his daughter Star Wars for the first time. He is thoroughly let down by her reaction to the movies. It is a bit of a disappointment when your children don’t take to your favorite fandom, but we shouldn’t try to force it down their throats. Quoting the characters, singing the songs, or telling them about the best parts can take away from the experience. Try to introduce it without too much enthusiasm. We’ve all read a book or watched a movie in which our expectations were too high based on friends’ reviews. The point is to have fun together, not to push something on them.
Just play it cool, nerdy parental unit.
It’s important to understand that your particular fandom may not be their cup of tea. How many times did you have an adult in your life who didn’t understand what you enjoyed? Did you ever feel left out from the other kids because you liked to read manga after lunch, or were you ever made fun of for pretending to do a Kamehameha wave like Goku on the playground? We certainly wouldn’t want to make our kids feel inadequate for having differing hobbies or interests, especially as their parents. We’ll always love them for who they are, even if they do turn out to be completely different from us.
This is a guest post submitted by Marlo Boggess. If you’re interested in contributing to the site, please fill out this online form and send us your pitches!