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100 Tips for Nannies and Families

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Fun Family Movie Nights

We often hear about how, with everyone’s hectic schedules, families don’t enjoy much together-time anymore.  Movie nights, in which families gather ‘round the television to watch a DVD/Blu-ray movie, are ways families can have fun together-time on a budget.  Here are some ways to maximize the family fun to be had on movie nights.

  • Choose your movies wisely.  Comedic and/or dramatic movies about parental love, kids’ adventures, animals, and other lessons-disguised-as-entertainment themes are ideal.   These can be springboards for family discussions on topic.  For example, your family can watch Disney/Pixar’s “Monsters, Inc.” and then discuss that there really are no scary monsters lying in wait for them behind darkened closet doors. Among the lessons-disguised-as-entertainment movies, intersperse a few pure-entertainment movies.  Not all movie nights should necessarily involve “meaningful” conversation.
  • Choose to do things that reinforce the themes of the movies.  For example, if your movie for tonight’s family movie night is Disney’s “Lady and the Tramp”, serve spaghetti for dinner.  If you choose to watch “Fern Gully” some evening, spend the preceding or following afternoon planting trees, tending a flower garden, or touring a botanical garden.  If you watch Disney’s “The Parent Trap”, make a tent out of dining room chairs and blankets and watch the movie (which occurs in a kids’ summer camp setting) from the tent.  If your movie choice is “Born Free”, your family can dress in costume for the movie:  you and your spouse as Joy and George Adamson and your kids as lion cubs.
  • Avoid distractions during family movie nights.  Your kids need to know that, on these nights, your time with your family is your first priority.  They want and need your full and undivided attention.  Don’t answer that phone.  In fact, turn off your cell phone.  Turn off the computer.  Shut down the games.
  • Ensure that you communicate your love for and acceptance of your kids.  Tell your kids that you love them and love spending time with them.  Hug them.  Sit next to them while watching the movies.  Make their favorite snacks to munch on while watching the movies.  Tell them touching or humorous stories about their earlier years . . . stories that parallel events from the movies.  Additionally, movie nights can be perfect opportunities for your kids to tell you what’s on their minds and in their hearts and for you to be responsive to your kids’ thoughts and feelings.  For example, if, after watching a Harry Potter movie, one of your kids tells you that s/he wishes that s/he were “special like Harry”, you can tell your child all the things that make him/her special to you . . . that you love him/her because s/he IS special, and not just in a fictional way like Harry.  You may choose to ask your child what makes him/her feel as if s/he is NOT special and respond to whatever your child’s situational concerns may be.

In the final analysis, that final point is what makes family movie nights so impactful:  the communication of love and acceptance.  We love our kids enough to devote time to them, forsaking all other distractions, and making sure they know they are loved and accepted as they are.

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