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Movie night is always a hit at our house. It’s a chance to sit back, relax and enjoy some quality time with the whole family. Well of course, there’s a bit of planning that needs to happen to make the night a success…especially if you have toddlers or preschoolers who can’t always sit still through a whole movie.
Luckily, I’ve put together a list of everything you need to do to enjoy movie night with the kids at home.
The Ultimate Checklist for Family Movie Night
The first thing you need to do before popping a movie into the dvd player is to choose something that appeals to the whole family. While you want the adults to stay awake watching, most importantly, you’ll need to choose a kid-friendly flick that isn’t too long. Kids get antsy easily, so something that is animated, entertaining and timed-well works best.
For our most recent movie night, we went with the award-winning animated film, Big Hero 6. An action-packed family-friendly movie which we picked up at Target. My son loved it from the moment he set eyes on the inflatable robot, Baymax!
Another thing you can do once you have a movie in mind, build excitement over the big night: mark it on the calendar, remind your children that if everyone is on their best behavior the “big movie” festivities can commence.
Finally, be sure to schedule it at a time that works best. Usually right after dinner with plenty of time before bed helps to account for any unexpected interruptions.
2. Get comfy.
Comfort is a huge deal when sitting down to watch movies with kids. Make sure to have them in pajamas, cuddling up with a few favorite stuffed animals and cozy under a warm blanket. Remember to make a quick diaper change to keep them dry too.
Turn off other electronics and put the phone down. These gadgets can be huge distractions when you’re trying to enjoy a new movie. Just think what your little one will do when they catch you scrolling through your iPad. Probably will want to see why you aren’t watching either.
3. Grab snacks
Snacks are an integral part of the whole movie-watching experience. And part of building up the excitement comes with the yummy snacks and goodies kids can munch on. Popcorn, pretzels, crackers are good ideas to start, but you’ll also want to include some fun movie-themed snacks too. This will not only make it more fun, but it will also help kids relate the goodies to the characters in the film.
4. Schedule breaks.
Having a little break or intermission midway through a screening is must for toddler and preschool age kids. For starters, they need to be reminded to use the toilet after so many snacks and drinks (this is especially true during potty-training!). Secondly, breaks are essential to getting kids to watch a whole movie. Let’s face it: their attention-span is short and can only take so much, no matter how interesting. Give them 10-15 minutes to get up, run around and address any questions they might have about the movie and characters.
For the adults, it’s a great opportunity to stretch your legs, fill up glasses and snack bowls.
5. Make it a learning experience.
I love to find learning experiences whenever we can, especially from books and movies. So once the movie is finally over, take the time to talk it over with your child. Nothing too long or complicated, but simply reiterate what the story was about. Ask them questions and explain the overall message…because every movie has a message to relay.
If you’ve planned ahead you can also use the time to make a craft or quiet-activity inspired by the movie for even better understanding. You don’t have to break out the entire craft box. A simple drawing or cutout is a perfect way to bring home the message since children learn best through play.
If you’re planning a movie night with kids be sure to download the printable checklist HERE.
We had a blast watching Big Hero 6 with our kids and hope you find this checklist helpful.
I’d love to know what you do to make movie night work for your family. Share below!
Ana, a mom to three rambunctious little boys, has supported hundreds of thousands of women throughout their pregnancy and motherhood journey since 2012 as a blogger and maternal health advocate at MommysBundle.com.