A family movie night provides the perfect opportunity to gather everyone in your family in one place for quality time together. But what if there could be more to a family movie night than staring at a screen in the same room? What if family movie night could be a chance for deeper connection and discipleship?
As Christians, we know the potential for every little moment in life to make a Kingdom impact. Even our most mundane moments can draw us closer to Christ or push us farther away.
As parents, we can think of the simple times in our family the same way. Planning a family movie night may seem like an average routine, but the way we spend our nights can have a tremendous impact on our children’s relationships with family, education, and spiritual growth.
Yes. Movies entertain us, but they can be so much more.
Here’s how they can be more
1. Make family movie night intentional and meaningful.
Make movie night a time for the whole family to look forward to by planning purposeful activities around it. Based on the genre of the movie and the topics covered in it, you can incorporate crafts or games that help your family glean more wisdom (and good times!) from the movie.
Movie night can begin before you press “play” and the activities you plan can help your family warm up and loosen up ahead of the movie. If you want to go all-out, you can plan the movie night around a theme with decorations and more.
Think ahead and be intentional about what would make for the best movie night. If it’s the summertime, could you switch it up and have family movie night outside with a projector? If it’s a more traditional couch party, what could make it more comfortable and cozy (plenty of blankets, hot beverages, etc.)? Could it happen weekly or bi-weekly on the same day and become a fun routine?
Another simple but significant aspect of planning a family movie night is to choose the movie ahead of time. Trying to choose the movie the night-of based on everyone’s moods not only leaves room for arguing, but it wastes precious minutes and takes away your ability to plan intentionally for valuable conversations, surprises, and more.
Family movie nights are fantastic occasions to laugh and learn together. And when parents are intentional about making them count for more than entertainment, they can be a time of rich conversation and teaching as well.
- Choose a Dove Approved movie. Dove.org exists to encourage and promote the creation, production, distribution and consumption of wholesome family entertainment. Families trust the seal of approval and depend on the reviews to choose movies, TV shows, and videos that align with the Christian faith.
2. Add fun, memorable elements.
When your kids grow up and think back on their childhood, wouldn’t it be wonderful if family movie night was one of their favorite memories? To help make sure every movie night doesn’t blend together, switch it up and add things that will bring joy, laughter, and all-around enjoyment.
For example, if your family plans to watch Frozen, a fun, memorable element to add could be making snow cones to eat while you watch the movie. Or, if you plan to watch one of the Sing movies, have a karaoke hour before the movie as a lively, hilarious warmup to the movie.
You could turn your living room into an at-home cinema. The family gets printed tickets and their choice of candy, popcorn, and drinks. It doesn’t take much to do, but it’s a delight. Themed meals or decorations, a “remake vs. original” night, a “parents’ choice” one night and “kids’ choice” the next … the options for making movie night more fun are endless.
What matters most is that your family has time set aside on the calendar to be together.
- Play a movie trivia game over dinner. We recently released It’s Dove Approved! Family Movie Trivia Game. The game includes 100 trivia questions so families can test their knowledge of characters, songs, quotes, plot twists and more—all from favorite Dove-approved movies.
3. Emphasize the importance of coming together.
When your family members have busy schedules, it can start to feel like you’re living separate lives. Family vacations and even eating dinner together becomes more difficult to organize. Something as simple as a family movie night can be an important tool in reinforcing the importance of family time.
Create a family movie night schedule that is realistic for your family. Plan an enjoyable evening whenever you can and encourage everyone—even the busiest parents and any extended family who might join in—to make it a priority. Your children will see that coming together as a family matters. The presence of family movie night on everyone’s schedule reinforces the value of spending time together and making memories as a family.
- Add the movie night to your calendar and invite family members to the event.
4. Invite Jesus into your conversations.
Whether your family has chosen to watch a Christian movie or not, there’s so much to learn about positive and negative character qualities, how to relate to other people, good choices vs better choices, and more. Use the movie to teach your children how to apply biblical wisdom to the situations that the characters faced.
Finding ways to incorporate a bit of biblical teaching into movie night also illustrates an important life lesson for your children: Jesus belongs in every decision we make. In everything we do, we can try our best to acknowledge and honor Him. And in doing so, our everyday moments become opportunities to grow in our knowledge of and relationship with Him.
- Begin or end family movie night with prayer. Pray specifically that your family’s eyes will be open to what God can teach through the movie and ways to grow in faith.