For the last 5-months, my family has been enjoying a “family movie night” on Fridays. It’s a great way to end a week of homeschooling. We all look forward to it! The kids love that we can all be together in the same room and relax: mom, dad, and siblings. That doesn’t happen very often!
I will share what seems to work well for my family, but by all means, please find a routine that works well for your family!
Our Family Movie Night Routine
- Choose a family friendly movie. It needs to be a movie we can all agree upon, even if it’s not everyone’s top pick.
- All school work for the week must be done before the movie. If the schoolwork is not done, then no Family Movie Night. This has not been a problem, but it is a motivator to the children…and me! I like to feel like we can take Saturday and Sunday off from school.
- The living room must be picked-up before we start the movie. If there is no place to spread out with blankets and pillows on the floor, then we can’t enjoy the movie. I vacuum, too (and it’s great to wake up on Saturday morning knowing that the living room was freshly vacuumed).
- We make a simple meal. Frozen pizzas or soup from a can is ok! The kids help set the table.
- We all need to sit together in the living room for the majority of the movie together. It is not a time to for the adults to do household chores, check email, or read a book. It’s a time to sit around together, watch a movie, and have a shared experience as a family. It’s a cozy time to be with each other 🙂
- By 4pm on Fridays, we wrap up school work. Any workbooks or assignments not completed, get finished. Then we start to prepare for Family Movie Night.
- The kids start straightening up the living room. No toys on the floor, no stray socks on the floor, and no papers left on the floor. (My kids are ages 3, 6, & 7. If I had a 1 or 2-year-old, I would likely keep some quiet toys nearby, and try to put the 1 or 2-year-old down for bed after dinner.)
- The “big kids” set the table, and I start dinner. Since it’s usually just pizza, it’s simple. I prep the pizza and start to prepare sides. I might add whatever fruit we have around, finish up salad that we have in the fridge, or put baby carrots in a bowl to round out the meal. If I need something from the grocery store last-minute, my husband will pick it up on his way home from work, but usually, I try to make do with what we have so that he can get home sooner.
- The kids get their blankets and pillows, and bring them to the living room in anticipation of Family Movie Night.
- Once my husband arrives home, the food goes into the oven. If I don’t have it ready, he helps.
- My husband settles in back at home for a bit. He and I usually spend 5-10 minutes catching up on our days. I often need to vent about the challenges we faced while homeschooling, and he often likes to update me how work is. If we need to talk at length before the movie, we assign the kids to clean their rooms. While talking, we usually finish preparing the meal together, or work on cleaning the kitchen (e.g., sweeping, wiping down counters, etc.).
- We start the movie. We try very hard to have all five of us in the living room when it starts. It’s hard to enjoy a new movie if you miss the introduction, and our goal is to be together.
- Once the food is ready, we pause the movie and eat. We wait a few minutes to find an ok stopping point. We say grace and enjoy the meal. We catch up on our day as a family. The kids share with Papa what they did during school, or they fall into a routine of telling jokes.
- After we eat, each person clears his or her place. My husband and I put away food, and the children do their “bedtime routine.” The children get on pajamas, brush teeth, floss, and pick out clothes for the next day (we still help the 3-year-old quite a bit, but she’s learning). It’s a big motivator for the children to promptly complete their bedtime routine in order to get back to the movie.
- Then we all settle back into the living room and enjoy the movie. We turn the lights out for a movie theater affect.
- After the movie is done, the children are often tired and are ready for bed. Since they already have their pajamas on and they brushed and flossed, they can go straight to bed and say prayers. On other nights, we read the children bedtime stories, but on Family Movie Night, the movie “counts” as the story.
I highly recommend starting a tradition of a Family Movie Night. It’s really easy, and you can make a routine that works for your family!