Heavy/YouTube/HGTV Erin Napier from HGTV
When HGTV’s Erin Napier wants her kids to “settle down” and eat dinner, she suspects some will be surprised at how she and her husband Ben handle it.
In an interview with Us Weekly on November 10, 2023, Napier revealed some of the favorite parenting tricks she uses with her daughters – Helen, 5, and Mae, 2 – while navigating her career as a TV star, New York Times bestselling author, and entrepreneurs.
As co-founder of the screen-free Osprey initiative, which stands for “old-school parents raising engaged youngsters,” Napier told the magazine her girls have “never had a phone or a tablet in their hands.”
But when asked if her girls ever watched TV during dinner, the Home Town star replied: “You’d be surprised!”
Napier admitted that turning on the TV is actually one of the ways she gets her kids to calm down while eating. This is just one of the ways she has found to keep her sanity, as she reveals that she also sometimes serves dessert before dinner and usually waits until the next morning to wash the dishes.
Here’s what you need to know:
Erin Napier says she sometimes turns on the TV at the start of dinner to motivate her children to concentrate
Erin and Ben have repeatedly said that they want their girls to have a creative childhood with lots of time in nature. This is one of the reasons they bought a “country home” on the outskirts of Laurel, Mississippi, where Home Town is filmed.
“My playtime consisted of climbing a lot of trees and digging for arrowheads in the forest,” Erin told Southern Living in October 2022. “Our girls in the city can’t do that. “I want their bath water to be dirty at the end of the day, so that means they haven’t just played on screens.”
A year later, she told Us Weekly that the plan was working.
“They have a lot of fun, they get dirty,” Erin said. “They go outside, they play, they dig, they climb trees. That’s where we are.”
However, her daughters’ days are not entirely screen-free. Erin said her children sometimes FaceTime with their grandparents and revealed that she turns on a TV show when they need to calm down for dinner.
“You’d be surprised,” Erin said. “It actually helps them. “Sometimes the TV only comes on when (I have to say): ‘Guys, we need to calm down.’ ‘We need to sit down,’ and I turn it on for a few minutes while they start eating.”
“And then we turn it off so we can have family dinner and chat,” she continued. “I don’t know, something about the TV puts her in a place where I want her to be quiet. I don’t like it on, but sometimes it’s the bug’s light that attracts them.”
So what TV shows do they watch? In April, she shared an Instagram post of them watching Downton Abbey on a rainy day. That same month, she and Ben told Entertainment Weekly that the children’s animated series “Bluey” was one of their favorites.
“‘Bluey’ is the life of our house right now,” she said. “And we’ll probably still watch it when our kids grow out of it because it’s so good.”
Another favorite is their own series “Home Town,” which they just finished filming the seventh season of. Erin told Us Weekly that Helen likes to watch it with them, but “only because she wants to stay up late.”
Meanwhile, Erin revealed that she can also get her kids to focus on dinner by serving dessert at the same time instead of waiting until the girls have eaten their main meal.
“It happens,” she admitted, shaking her head. “Man, it happens. I’m actually a proponent of serving them dessert with dinner. Sometimes it makes them eat everything a little better. They get a few bites of it at first, but then they eat the real food too.”
“It just works for us,” she sighed, then laughed. “But it doesn’t always work for us.” Sometimes it doesn’t.”
Even though her kids have screen-free days, Erin Napier says she scrolls through her phone before bed to relax
Erin also shared some details with Us Weekly about how she unwinds after her busy days as a mother and TV star. She admitted that while she doesn’t let her children look at any devices, she is one of the millions of Americans who scroll through social media before falling asleep.
According to the Sleep Foundation, nearly 75 percent of all social media consumption in the U.S. occurs “before bed.”
“Oh God, it’s terrible,” Erin said. “I do it every night. It’s embarrassing how long I have to scroll, which is why I don’t allow my kids access to it. Because I’m just wasting… I could be having a deep, meaningful conversation with Ben instead. But we all do it, don’t we?”
But one thing Erin doesn’t do before bed is washing up, admitting she waits until the next day to put it in the dishwasher.
“Yes, I definitely do,” she confirmed. “In the morning they go in the dishwasher. They come to the sink, get rinsed and then I leave them in the sink until tomorrow.”
Liv Lane is an entertainment writer who covers Hallmark Channel, HGTV, American Idol and The Voice for Heavy. She has three decades of experience as a local and national radio host, brand publicist and creative consultant, interviewing and working with a wide range of dignitaries and celebrities, from Deepak Chopra to Lil Nas X. Liv is also an accomplished watercolor artist whose intuitive art is practiced throughout the USA and Canada sold. Liv attended the University of Minnesota and lives in Minneapolis. More about Liv Lane