Family movie night is so much more than an excuse to zone out after a long week! Here are some tips on making family movie night a tradition, something fun, and something your kids will remember going forward! This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Universal Pictures at Walmart. The opinions and text are all mine.
My husband and I have always enjoyed watching movies together. We frequented the dollar movie theater while dating and early in our marriage. We rented movies from Redbox and Netflix (back in the day when they still shipped DVDs) and the library and borrowed some from friends.
We watch pretty much every genre of movies together, learning, laughing, getting scared, feeling sappy, or singing along to them. We enjoy critiquing and discussing what made the movie enjoyable or less than enjoyable afterward.
When we started having kids, we continued watching movies together, though usually after the kids were asleep, mostly because then we could fully enjoy the movie, as there wouldn’t be diaper blowouts, screaming, fighting, wailing, demands for snacks, or any of the other distractions that come from having little people hanging around. They weren’t always into our grownup movie as it wasn’t animated either.
Plus, we didn’t always feel the content in our non-animated flicks would be appropriate for our very young children to see, watch, or listen to.
But, as our children have grown up, we’ve introduced our kids more and more, little by little to some decidedly not children’s films. We now regularly do this during our “family movie night.”
There are several reasons we have done this.
Why Have a Family Movie Night Tradition?
In our opinion, the benefit of a family movie night is to expose our children to favorites long since forgotten. We are doing a family movie night so we can show them movies we enjoyed as children, that we remember watching with our own families as little kids, that are more exciting and engaging for all of us to watch.
Children are apt to watch a lot of movies and kids cartoon shows. And that’s fine and good and sometimes educational. But, when it’s family time, my husband and I do not want to watch these shows with our children. We want to watch something we ourselves will enjoy, but that won’t be completely inappropriate for our children to watch.
We don’t really want to completely freak them out or give them nightmares or scar them for life. But, that’s where watching movies together makes a difference.
If the movie is getting intense or scary, my husband and I can pause the movie for a second and talk about it, remind our children that it’s just a movie and that those scary monsters or bad people or whatever are not real, that they are all actors or computer generated. We can also remind them that they are in fact still in our living room and nothing is chasing them.
Or if there are scenes that we do not desire our children to watch, we can fast forward or skip through those scenes.
And that’s why a family movie night at home is often a better idea than dragging all the kids to the movie theater to see a new movie.
If we wait until a movie comes out on DVD and Blu-ray or digital, we can watch the movie together ahead of time and discuss if we think it is appropriate for our children to watch (or maybe just the older kids to watch). We can also remember parts we might want to skip or pause when we watch it together later.
Lastly, watching a movie at home versus watching a movie at the theater are two very different experiences. The movie theater experience is just that – an experience. The room is completely dark except for the giant screen, which is then all your child can see in front of them. The sounds are crazy loud and extra intense.
Watching at home you see more than just the screen. The sounds aren’t as intense and the room not quite as dark. These all help lessen scarier or more dramatic movies for young children and even for adults.
Our children have enjoyed watching even “scary” movies with us. They like that they can snuggle with us, cover their faces with blankets, and then laugh about it afterward with us. They don’t have nightmares from them either (or at least not very often).
Fridays have become both our family pizza night and our family movie night. We order, pickup, bake, or make our own pizzas, pick out a specific movie to watch together, and may even pop popcorn and have soda – treats we almost never enjoy otherwise.
The kids all look forward to our Friday night family movie nights, excited for the movie, sometimes putting in their own requests for what we should watch.
It’s now become a habit and tradition and it’s such a fun one to have! There are so many great movies out there, it’s great to share them with the people we love the most – our children!
Family Movie Night Movies
As I mentioned earlier, my husband and I usually pick the movie for family movie night. Sometimes we pick more kid movies, sometimes scarier ones, and some decidedly family-friendly movies.
Occasionally we let the kids pick out the movie or we give a few suggestions and leave up to a vote.
If you are lacking ideas on how to pick a great family movie night movie, consider the following ideas:
- Pick a movie based on what the kids are currently interested in (current history topic, science interest, animals, people, sports, etc.)
- Pick movies you loved as a kid and do a “throwback movie night”
- Pick movies based on books you read together as a family
Family Movie Night Rules
Because family movie night is now a regular occurrence and tradition in our home, we have had to set up some expectations or rules concerning the event. These rules include:
- No complaining about the movie choice (from anyone)!
- Parents need to watch the movie with the kids, meaning NO PHONES, tablets, texting, working, reading or other things. This is a FAMILY event.
- The lights must be off or dimmed and blinds closed.
- We all need to be comfortable and snuggled up. Blankets, pillows, and pajamas are encouraged as is lying on the floor or couch.
- If there is a book the movie is based from, you must read the book before watching the movie together.
For example, we actually listened to the audiobook Jurassic Park together on a road trip. It was very interesting and different from the original movie though some elements were included in various Jurassic Park sequels. It was fun to then watch the movie with the kids (and my son loves dinosaurs) and discuss the differences afterward, which version they liked better, what they liked about each, and so on.
Family Movie Night Treats and Ideas for Making It Extra Special
We often make our family movie night extra special by popping popcorn, having some other kind of sweet, and maybe a special drink. We could do a lot better at this too though! I know some families run with a theme and really make the night fun for all! If you look forward to your movie night all week as a family, the prep work might be most of the fun!
We will be watching the new Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom movie together when it releases on September 18, picking up this exclusive gift set from Walmart that contains the DVD, Blu-ray, and Digital versions of the movie PLUS a 2-pack set of Funko Pocket Pop! Keychains featuring two of the main characters from the movie – Owen and his raptor Blue.
My daughter Emily just started a little homeschool preschool co-op and the first week was all about the Letter D and dinosaurs! We also regularly get books about dinosaurs from the library (the “How Do Dinosaurs…” books are a big hit with the kids) as dinosaurs are my son’s favorite!
They are a fun way to talk about dinosaurs all week and make it educational even before watching the new movie together as a family. My kids, somewhat surprisingly, all really like “scary” movies!
If you also want to plan a fun Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom family movie night for when it releases, here are some idea on how to make it extra special:
Jurassic Park Movie Treat Ideas
- Use a Printable Popcorn box
- Try different flavors of popcorn, or create a Dinosaur Snack Mix or Dinosaur Munch and Crunch.
- Serve a special soda, drink, or float, perhaps even something like this Green “Dino” juice.
- Dinosaur Ice Cream Excavation
- Fossil Cookies
- Amber Treats with Dino DNA
- Dinosaur Egg Rice Krispie Treats
- Dinosaur Claws
- Watermelon T-Rex Dinosaur
Other things you can do to make family movie night more fun is to really turn up the volume, make the whole evening themed on the movie with costume, games, printables, or other activities in addition to watching the movie, or bring out some toys that relate to the film.
The point of family movie night is to just make it a fun tradition that everyone in the family looks forward to and enjoys. There’s no need to go Pinterest crazy on it every week unless you have the time and love that type of thing. Simple is perfectly fine too and something your kids will remember all the same.
Happy movie night!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Universal Pictures at Walmart. The opinions and text are all mine.