Family & Motherhood

Starting a Movie Night Tradition

Do you have a fun family tradition? We are at the place where our girl can sit through a new movie with us, and while our boy’s attention span is closer to 20 minutes before he starts getting restless and playing with his airplanes, it’s nice to think about starting a movie night tradition that just get better and better. We recently saw E.T and our girl was totally into it. I have forgotten so much of that movie that it really brought me back.

Traditions help form stronger bonds and are unique to every family, which is what makes it super special. With so many good family movies out there, there are great options for every family stage from preschool little ones to tweens and teens. Read on for some tips on how to do it!

Have Food 

Having snacks or dinner with the movie is a winning combination. Depending on what time your family eats, this could be an early dinner with pizza or chicken nuggets, or an after-dinner snack with popcorn and treats. I like doing pizza for our family movie nights. It’s easy, the kids can eat while the movie is on and it’s a good break from the daily routine.  Sometimes I make the pizza, most time we order in. Pepperoni is always on the order.

Be Consistent 

Try to do the movie night on the same day every week so that it’s a consistent event. Not only is it something that everyone can look forward to, but it lets kids know what to expect. It also eliminates any resistance or conflict if it’s something that takes place on a consistent basis. Remember that kids thrive in knowing what comes next.  

Take Turns Choosing a Movie  

We watched The Wizard of Oz and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids with our little ones and they constantly request to watch them. Note that while a new movie can be introduced on movie night, there is also nothing wrong with watching a favorite (even if you’ve seen Frozen for the 10th time). The goal is to do something together as a family. While we sometimes let our kids choose the movie (even if it is a princess or one of the Cars movies that they’ve seen a million times), my favorite ones are the ones we get to choose from our childhood.  

Turn Off All Distractions 

Turn off all phones, tablets, or other tvs in the house. You want the tradition to be a family event, with everyone sitting down to watch the movie. If it helps, put phones and tablets in another room. Make sure to check work emails beforehand or after the movie. It makes such a difference when everyone is doing something together, versus a movie that only the kids watch while parents do chores or send that quick email.  

Need some ideas of family movies to put on your list? Here are the ones we’ve personally seen in our house and have been a big hit. Add it to your list and the next time you’re looking for a family movie to enjoy together, put it on!

  • Mary Poppins Returns
  • Wizard of Oz
  • Inside Out (LOVE this one about feelings)
  • Frozen (1 & 2)
  • Cars (1-3)
  • Kiki’s Delivery Service (anime film about a witch who leaves home to find her passion- highly recommend)
  • My Neighbor Totoro (same anime illustrator about a family who moves to the country and meets an unusual neighbor)
  • Toy Story
  • Parent Trap
  • The Princess Bride (had some scenes that were a bit scary for the kids, but overall worth it)
  • Coco
  • E.T
  • Elf
  • Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
  • Soul

Memories are made through traditions, with the goal to look back and remember the good times had as a family. It’s a time to connect, cuddle and just enjoy being in each other’s presence. It might end up being your favorite night of the week.  

Want some more inspiration on how to do a movie night with your family? Check out my post on the Zulily blog for more tips and family movie picks!