A few weeks ago, while Matthew was out of the country, the big kids and I were driving home from school, wondering aloud about what we should do that night. (Ezra obviously couldn't contribute much to the conversation.)
Almost immediately, Adeline piped up, “I know what we can do—let’s have a family movie night!”
Of course, Elias joyously agreed, “Yes! Can we check XFINITY?”
I laughed and said, “Sure, why not?” The fact that he calls the cable by name cracks me up.
Using our voice remote, we quickly began scanning through XFINITY’s list of free movie options for kids, searching for title that would satisfy both Elias and Adeline.
I love family movie night. Though sometimes my kids’ cinematic choices are less than stellar—I mean, seriously? The Chipmunk movies drive me crazy!—I love how the simple action of watching a movie can bring our family together. Here’s why.
A movie connects generations
On that particular family movie night, we watched Charlotte’s Web. Not the live-action version starring Julia Roberts and Oprah—though I love that one—we watched the 1973 cartoon version of Charlotte’s Web, a film that I can remember watching with my parents when I was a little girl. It’s amazing to me how a simple story, one about a pig no less, can inspire multiple generations. It never ceases to surprise me how a shared love for a narrative can make you feel closer, even better known. Movies have offered us a great way to share some of our childhood stories with Elias and Adeline, and often those conversations will get brought up again the next time we watch that movie.
A little family unity
As all of us know, the busyness of life—from work to sports to school to church to a long list of other responsibilities—can often leave our schedules filled up and make us feel like we’re all going in different directions. The simple act of watching a movie together, all of us being in the same room, our attention spans engaged in the same story, is often a welcomed change.
A good routine
At our house, Friday evenings are family movie nights. And while it’s not a set-in-stone “must do” assignment, the kids really seem to look forward to “family time” in the living room watching a movie together. It gives them something to look forward to throughout the week. It offers them some practice on learning how to make choices while remembering there’s another person with different likes and dislikes to consider. And it’s one more scheduled “fun” thing for them to take ownership in.
Movies make fantastic conversation starters, a fact that I think will only become more helpful as our kids get older. But despite Elias being only 7 and Adeline only 4 and, for the most part, the movies they watch being Rated G with a handful of pre-screened PG-films thrown in, the storylines almost always give us an opportunity to discuss big-themed topics like choices, consequences, forgiveness, and self-confidence.
During a recent viewing of Dreamworks’ Shrek, we had a really great conversation about the importance of not judging people and how God made all sorts of people. The conversation then got silly as we discussed what it would be like if real ogres walked the earth, but those types of conversations are a great way to teach truth in a simple way.
(As an aside, Comcast recently purchased Dreamworks, which is exciting to think of a cable company investing in such an innovative and family-friendly company! Moreover it means lots more movie options for Family Movie Night!)
Probably my favorite part of Family Movie Night is snuggle time. Our old, comfy red couch is perfect for piling together with some cozy blankets to watch a movie. Family movie nights draw out much affection from my kids. I know this won’t last forever (why do kids grow so fast?!), and I treasure it every week. I hope they will look back on their childhood and remember those times fondly, as I do from my own childhood.
My parents had a big waterbed and my sister and I used to love watching shows and movies with my mom in their bed. We used to have Nick at Nite marathons and watch Mary Tyler Moore, I Love Lucy, Bewitched, Dick Van Dyke…. Such good stuff.
What about in your family? Do you do family movie nights or have another similar tradition? Share in the comments below.
Disclosure: This is part of a three-month sponsored series with XFINITY. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about any product mentioned in these posts. XFINITY believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. XFINITY’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.