All About Family Movie Nights
As you may know, we limit our child’s screen time, you may have even taken part of the Unplug Childhood Training in the past. But we have started a family movie night ritual that I want to share with you. We were able to find many benefits from this tradition and I think you may like to bring some of our traditions into your home as well.
I have shared these tips on my Instagram @meaganrosewilson as well, but I wanted to gather all of the information together in one place. You can forward this to a parenting partner or friend and/or save and print it for future reference.
Benefits of family movie nights
allows practice of delayed gratification
carves out a scheduled time together on a regular basis
⚡️ sparks family discussions on a wide range of subjects from stereotypes to global warming
provides an opportunity to teach elements of a story (characters, plot, conflict, climax and resolution)
teaches children (and adults) about experiences outside of their own perspectives
️ provides opportunities to share emotional experiences & name feelings
When family movie night could work for your family
For our family, the movie night tradition has started just recently. The reason being that our youngest has just turned 6. Prior to this age, it was hard to find media that was engaging enough for older siblings and parents but gentle (and short) enough for small children.
Some alternatives could be to organize it so that your youngest is asleep or out with grandparents when the rest of the family sits down to watch together. You could also start the tradition off slowly by watching shorter and more gentle shows such as an episode of Mr.Rogers or a short nature documentary episode.
Planning a family movie night in 4 steps
- Set the date and time in stone based on your family’s schedule or developmental needs (eg. once a week on Saturday at 2pm OR once every two weeks on a Friday at 5pm etc.)
- Choose any other rhythms, rituals & traditions you want to create or foster at this time (eg. PJs and a bath before playing the film, pizza night, enjoying a big bowl of popcorn together, etc.)
- Figure out how everyone will transition from the movie back to reality after the movie night (eg. Will you go for a walk? Have only one book? Move on to preparing dinner together as a family? etc.)
- Start and keep a “saved” list of movies on your streaming app(s). Whenever you come across a film you think would be suitable for the entire family, save it!
Finding suitable films for the entire family
Commonsensemedia.org is a non-negotiable part of developing healthy media habits and choices in your family.
I cannot recommend their website highly enough.
You can look up movies, TV episodes, video games and other media on the site and get comprehensive reviews and ratings from professionals, parents and children.
If your friend recommended Moana but you’re not sure if your highly sensitive five-year-old can handle it, look it up on their website commonsensemedia.org and you will be able to read in detail about each of the “scary” or “questionable” scenes.
What I also love about their website is that they also often have a section at the bottom of a review called “talk to your kids about” where they share discussion points to go with the film.
Read through these if you’re not sure where to begin family discussions surrounding the film’s themes.
Tip: you can also follow them on Instagram @commonsenseorg
My cycle for a successful family movie night tradition
Finally, our Favourite Family Movie Night Films for Mixed Ages 6+
Winnie the Pooh
A Beautiful Planet
And For Extra Sensitive Little ones:
The Little Bear Movie
Dancing in the Light
Wing’s of Life
I hope that this was helpful for you. Please pop into my Instagram @meaganrosewilson and add a comment or question to one of the related posts, or hit reply if you have something to add or share.
If you have worries about integrating a family movie night tradition into your home, maybe due to the age differences of children, absences of screens up until now, or maybe a particularly sensitive child, I’d love to offer some advice and strategies to you and your family. You can book a mini session by clicking here.