We’re heading into the holidays and most of us will hopefully get a bit of time off to relax and decompress with family. But holidaying with kids — especially young kids — can be more like hard work than relaxing.
Once your kids are old enough to sit through a movie, you reach a new level of parenting. For some, that will be around age 3 or 4, but finding movies that everyone can watch together (and not get bored to death) can be a challenge.
Be aware of potential scariness
Some kids are more sensitive than others: know your kids. One way to assess the scariness or otherwise of the movie is to watch it first yourself. If you don’t relish (or have time for that), make sure you want it for the first time with your child. Movies like The Lion King (and the remake) and Bambi are classics but have some potentially scary elements for younger kids.
Try to find movies that have funny dialogue and great music
Kids appreciate slapstick humour and fart jokes but, depending on what kind of person you are, you might not. Movies like Shrek (plus 2, 3, and 4, the Puss in Boots spinoff, and the Christmas special) and Despicable Me (plus 2, 3 and the Minions spinoff) are funny and fun for kids with lots of subtle humour that even parents enjoy!
On the music side, movies like Trolls and Home are full of great pop music (if that’s your thing) and will keep the whole family singing along for days. Trolls also has a Christmas special and a sequel coming out soon.
Kids love animals (and parents do too!)
If you’re struggling to get past Paw Patrol, look at movies with animals in them! Finding Nemo, Finding Dory, Shark Tale, Ratatouille, Kung Fu Panda (and sequels), Madagascar (and sequels), The Secret Life of Pets (and sequel), Ice Age (plus the sequels and the Christmas special) and so many more are hits because they have cute animal characters.
And as a parent who has watched many of these movies (yes, always more than once) I can attest to them being quite fun! At least the first 3-4 times.
Movies from books
When it comes to kids that can’t read yet, one great way to hook them on stories they can’t read is through movies. Peter Pan (and Hook!), Peter Rabbit (there’s also a great TV series), and so many movies based on Roald Dahl books are just solid magic for kids. There are also short movies of picture books favourites like The Gruffalo and the Room on the Broom, which are also beautifully made.
Work with their interests
Christmas is a-coming and the bells are on the tree! If your kids are as excited about the upcoming festivities as ours are, this one’s for you. Although we’re looking at Christmas movies here, this can work for any interest. I’ve already mentioned a few Christmas specials above, which are a great, short watch if your kid already likes the movie franchise.
Look out for movies like Elf, Home Alone, The Santa Clause, and 101 Dalmatians if your kids prefer to see real people in movies. These are classics for great reasons! The Polar Express is realistically animated and a fantastic watch full of magic for kids and parents alike, as is The Grinch.
We hope this helps you to spend quality time together as a family this holiday season. Watching TV can be a bit mindless, but we find that carefully choosing movies and TV series that have a great story are actually a great way to spend time together that everyone can enjoy.
- 40+ Family-Friendly Movies Your Whole Family Will Enjoy: https://www.care.com/c/stories/3802/40-family-friendly-movies-your-whole-family/
- The top 5 Christmas movies for the whole family: https://www.sheknows.com/parenting/articles/850235/the-top-5-christmas-movies-for-the-whole-family/
- 25 Best Animated Christmas Movies: https://www.countryliving.com/life/entertainment/g28819581/best-animated-christmas-movies/