There’s a lot you can learn about your kids during today’s game, and most of it has nothing to do with football. Yes, it will be interesting to see how your kids feel about Manning and Brady, especially if you don’t live on the East Coast with a preformed bias toward one team or the other. But, although the network will flash the quarterback rating throughout the game, teach your kids  a new kind of rating – commercials rating.

Super Bowl commercials are, of course, legendary for their creativity and expense. More advertising ingenuity goes into this day’s commercials than all the other days of the year combined. Perfect. Today, only go to the frig for snacks and only take bathroom breaks during the actual game itself. No one leaves the TV during the commercials.  After each commercial, have each of the kids do a quick (quick because the next commercial starts immediately) rating on a 1 to 10 scale. Then, when the game starts again, have each rater explain why they gave the rating they did.

There are no right or wrong answers. The idea is to teach your kids to give, and let you get, honest feedback on their tastes and preferences. Don’t give your own rankings, because if your score is closer to one of your kids’ ratings than to another’s, it will look like you’re taking sides or that there is a “right” answer. Scoring the commercials (this also works great for TV shows, movies, restaurants, etc.) teaches your kids to formulate and express their opinions without embarrassment or fear of “being wrong.” Rotate the order of asking your kids for their ranking—but start with the youngest more often so he doesn’t always pick the same score as his older sibs. Scoring is your chance to see what and how your kids think. You’ll be surprised, I guarantee it.

Best of all, you’ve now created a brand new family tradition.

How will you and your kids spend the Super Bowl today? What are your family’s football traditions? Share your ideas in the comments box below. If it’s not there, click on the title of this post and the comments box will magically appear below the post. Go Giants! or Go Pats!

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