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Movie Night Tradition: 15 Best Family Movies to Watch

Movie Night Tradition: 15 Best Family Movies to Watch

Our kids are just starting to be at the age where they can sit through a movie without getting bored or restless. It’s been a long time coming and we are excited to transition to the next phase as a family. We are able to start thinking about family traditions we want to instill for years to come that they will remember and look forward to.    

Traditions help form stronger bonds and are unique to every family, which is what makes it super special. Movie night is one of the easiest ways to do that. With so many good family movies out there, there are great options for every family stage from preschool little ones to tweens and teens. We’ve got some tips on how to start a fun movie night tradition as well as our best family movie recommendations to add to your list. Read on!  

Tips for a Successful Movie Night

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.  

Be Consistent 

Try to do the movie night on the same day every week (or every month) 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 

This one is great for families with multiple kids as everyone can have a turn to watch a movie they love (or want to see). Parents are also encouraged to have a turn, making it a great opportunity to introduce a classic that you loved as a kid.  

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.  

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.  

Make It Super Cozy 

Dim the lights, pull out all the fuzzy blankets and pillows and make it as comfortable as possible. This would also be a good opportunity to bring snacks and host a dinner picnic in the living room. Setting the scene can be a cue to the family of what’s expected and get them excited. You can even do bathtime before the movie and get everyone in their pajamas to make it extra cozy. Do what works for your family.  

Add a Special Treat 

Movie night is a special occasion, and treats can make that event extra special. Whether that’s homemade popcorn, individual movie night snacks trays, or even themed props to watch during the movie. The goal is to make the tradition one that is fun, memorable and something that the whole family can look forward to every time.  

Sometimes the hardest part is picking out the movie to watch. Some ideas include: 

  • Picking a movie based on what kids are currently interested in (whether that’s from school, shows or sports). 
  • Choose a movie that you loved as a kid for a throwback movie night. 
  • Pick a movie based on books you are currently reading together as a family.  

Need some ideas of family movies to put on your list? These are some of the best family movies out there, with age recommendations from Common Sense Media: 

Little Kids: 

Mary Poppins 6+ 

Wizard of Oz 6+ 

Inside Out 6+ 

Toy Story 5+ 

Frozen 5+ 

Kiki’s Delivery Service 5+ 

The Parent Trap 6+ 

Big Kids: 

Goonies 10+ 

The Princess Bride 8+ 

Coco 7+ 

E.T 7+ 

Elf 7+ 

Tweens: 

Harry Potter 12+ 

A League of Their Own 10+ 

Hidden Figures 10+ 

Memories are made through traditions, with the goal to look back and remember the good times had as a family. Good family movies are already a great starting point and making it a tradition is a good opportunity to bring the family together. 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.  

About The Author

Sandra Lee

Sandra Lee is a blogger, amateur photographer and freelance writer for parenting publications such as Red Tricycle and Mommy Nearest. Hailing from Texas and living in the Bay Area, she writes about life with two kids, beauty finds, food and all things motherhood on her blog, Coffee in the Middle. As a bilingual Mexican and Italian woman, she’s committed to teaching her kids about diversity, the Spanish language and the love of different cultures. When she’s not chasing the little ones around, she’s either baking up something delicious, taking a yoga class or writing.

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