Family movie nights are a beloved tradition in many households. Gathering together in the living room to watch a movie is a great way to bond and create lasting memories. In today’s busy world, a regular movie night is one of the best ways for families to spend quality time together. Studies show that families who engage in regular activities like movie nights have better communication, stronger relationships, and experience less stress.
However, picking the right movie to watch can be tricky. You want to find something everyone likes that is age-appropriate for the kids. The wrong movie choice can derail the whole night. Fortunately, with some planning and consideration of a few key factors, it’s easy to pick a movie that the whole family will enjoy. Follow these tips for selecting the perfect film for your next family movie night.
1. Let the kids help pick
Giving your kids input and ownership in picking the family movie makes them more excited to watch it. Have each child research 2-3 movie options that fit the genre and rating criteria you set. Let them present their choices and do a quick plot review to confirm appropriateness.
Then, hold a family vote to decide which movie to watch. This gives kids agency in selecting the film while still ensuring it meets guidelines. Alternate weeks where parents get to pick and weeks where kids decide. Empowering kids in the selection process gets them invested in family movie night.
2. Re-watch family favorites
It’s perfectly fine to re-watch all-time favorite family movies during movie nights. Kids love the familiarity of beloved films, and it guarantees the movie will be a hit with everyone. Recently, Divine Influencer the movie has become one of those films that families love to revisit due to its heartwarming storyline and valuable lessons. Use re-watches for nights when you want to ensure your pick is a crowd-pleaser. You can also introduce childhood classics you grew up with to share them with your own kids.
Alternate re-watches with new movies to achieve a balance. Before starting the re-watch, you can say things like “Remember this funny scene coming up?” to build anticipation. Pause at key moments to ask kids what they remember happening next. Re-watches create nostalgia while letting you relive magical memories.
3. Go for films with positive messages
Family movie nights present a great opportunity to share stories with inspirational, Biblical, or motivational themes that align with your values. Films that highlight the power of prayer, generosity, redemption, or faith can spark meaningful conversations. Avoid movies with excessive violence, offensive language, and other negative themes.
Research reviews ahead of time to check that a movie’s overall message is uplifting for your family. Look for films where negative moments like violence ultimately lead to positive growth and redemption. Wholesome movies with good morals bring families together through shared stories and open up dialogue about applying those lessons in your own lives.
4. Make it interactive
Rather than just passively watching a movie together, get kids actively engaged through interactive elements. Have everyone wear pajamas to get cozy, and serve movie theater snacks like popcorn, candy, and sodas. Print out character pictures for kids to hold up each time that character appears on the screen.
Pause the movie at a suspenseful moment for intermission and have everyone discuss predictions for the second half. Assign each family member a character and have them share analysis throughout. Interactive games make kids invested in the movie and the family time. They also help younger children stay focused and entertained during the film.
5. Consider the ages of your children
When picking a family movie, selecting one that aligns with your kids’ maturity levels is crucial. The MPAA ratings provide a starting point, but every child develops differently. A 10-year-old may be fine with a PG film, while a 12-year-old prefers the excitement of PG-13. Get to know what content your kids can handle regarding violence, language, and sexuality. A movie may have an appropriate rating but still contain content you deem inappropriate for your family’s values. Opt for films rated G or PG, reading parent guides to check for objectionable material.
Also, consider the gap between your oldest and youngest child. A teen may enjoy an action film that terrifies a preschooler. Try to find age-appropriate movies that fall in the middle of your kids’ maturity range. If you have a wide age range, plan to watch two films—one suited for older kids followed by one appropriate for youngsters.
6. Choose a genre everyone will enjoy
Have an open discussion with your family about movie genres and themes they enjoy most. Little kids tend to prefer lighter animated films, while teens gravitate toward action, adventure, and comedy. Select a genre like fantasy or superhero films that will appeal to all ages. You can also alternate between picking a younger kid movie one week and a teen movie the next.
Getting everyone’s input will help you gauge which genres excite your family the most. Lean toward films with universal messages and humor that will resonate across ages instead of very mature themes. Offer concessions by letting older kids stay up later for double features. With give-and-take, you can find genres that satisfy the entire family.
7. Set a fun theme night
Spice up family movie night by selecting a fun theme and having everyone come dressed up accordingly. Themes like 80s night, superheroes, Disney sing-alongs, or comedy classics help make the night feel like a special event.
Let kids research costume ideas that fit the theme. Seeing everyone in costume together will create lasting memories. Pick decorations and snacks to match the theme as well. Getting into the spirit of the theme as a family helps build excitement and enjoyment of the night. Themed nights turn an ordinary movie into something extra fun.
Family movie nights provide an excellent opportunity for busy families to relax and enjoy time together. With some strategic planning using these tips, selecting a film that fits your family’s ages, values, and tastes is easy. Set the night up for success by making it interactive and giving kids input. Most importantly, focus on the chance to laugh together and make memories that will last a lifetime. Follow these guidelines, and your next family movie night will surely be a big hit!