This post is part of a paid partnership with Paramount Home Entertainment; all tips and ideas are the author’s. The world’s favorite blue hedgehog is back in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, now available on Blu-ray & Digital!
Before I had children, and when my kids were way too young for it to be a “thing” yet, family movie night was one of those activities I dreamed of enjoying together. Childhood memories are warm and fuzzy, and what’s not to love about snuggling under blankets in the dark, eating popcorn, and laughing together? That may be how kids experience family movie night, but as a parent, I quickly learned there are a few things that are essential to making sure this supposed-to-be-fun activity is actually pleasant and relaxing for everyone.
High-fives to all the moms out there, winging movie night and loving it. For our family, it turns out we need a few rules. Some are special; some are silly, some might even be the stuff that turns hitting “Play” into an actual tradition.
At least one grownup needs to be interested in the movie.
We’re not only watching critically acclaimed films in our house, but for family movie night, we try to choose movies the parents will like, too! Maybe it has a great soundtrack, maybe it’s a sequel to a movie we loved, maybe it’s a nostalgic pick from our own childhood, or maybe it’s a new release that has a lot of buzz. Do our kids still get to watch “meh” movies? Of course! (Just not with us.)
Movie nights are early dinner nights.
In our family, it doesn’t feel good to rush through dinner cleanup, only to start a movie right before bedtime, with bellies too full for snacks. Selfishly, my husband and I also treasure a little one-on-one time when the kids are in bed. So, we discovered it works best to push everything earlier. We plan an early bird dinner – like 4 o’ clock, so there’s ample time to clean up, bathe, put on jammies, and have an appetite for movie snacks. We’re okay staying up a little later. Just not hours.
Movie nights are for special snacks.
Microwave popcorn is convenient for a quick snack, but popping popcorn kernels in a pot on the stove is one of our movie night rituals. My husband takes the lead on this, the boys get to help shake the pot, and they insist it’s the BEST popcorn ever. When it’s ready, I scoop it into bowls, and then, we sprinkle movie candy right on top. I like to keep a few boxes of our family favorites in a top cupboard (Milk Duds for me, please!) and they only comes down for family movie nights.
Kids set up.
On family movie nights, the kids oversee setting up our “home theatre” (aka the basement or living room). They drag their plush chairs into position, collect the blankets, fill water bottles, and gather any stuffed animal friends who want to watch with us.
Intermissions for refills and potty breaks.
It’s inevitable; at some point during the movie, someone will ask for more candy or need to visit the bathroom. When that happens, we declare intermission and pause the movie, so everyone can take a quick break. Also, this is your one chance for a snack refill. We’ve found this keeps interruptions – and tummy aches – to a minimum.
Movie night IS the bedtime routine.
We’ve always stuck to a bedtime schedule that includes reading, snuggling, and sometimes extra stuff likes songs, sleep stories, or meditation. BUT, we make it very clear that after movie night, they brush their teeth and go straight to bed with hugs and kisses. The credits usually roll a little bit past bedtime, so it still feels like a treat, even if we’re skipping some of our normal things.
I’m sure my kids don’t really think of any of these things as actual rules. It’s just the way we do it. Parental indecision invites unwanted input from kids. And knowing how we do it means every time we want to watch a movie, we aren’t arguing about who sits where, when to start the movie, or what we’re going to watch.
Speaking of what to watch, I keep a Note on my iPhone titled “Family Movies” When someone thinks of a good movie, and I’ve confirmed it’s appropriate, I add it to the list. Choosing from a solid collection of ideas is handy vs. randomly Googling movie reviews in the moment. I also keep lists for seasonal favorites, such as fall/Halloween and Christmas movies.
What’s the last great movie you watched as a family? I’d love to add some new titles to our list!
About Sonic The Hedgehog 2
The world’s favorite blue hedgehog is back for a next-level adventure in Sonic The Hedgehog 2 After settling in Green Hills, Sonic is eager to prove he has what it takes to be a true hero. His test comes when Dr. Robotnik returns, this time with a new partner, Knuckles, in search for an emerald that has the power to destroy civilizations. Sonic teams up with his own sidekick, Tails, and together they embark on a globe-trotting journey to find the emerald before it falls into the wrong hands.
Buy Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and watch it today!