Family Fun: Tips for Enjoying Movies with Kids

By: Mollie Shauger | Friday, May 31, 2019 | Child Care

Children holding containers of popcorn

There’s often the temptation to take your kids or grandkids to see the latest superhero flick or animated movie. But not all these films will be appropriate for all ages. So how do you know what’s OK for your kids and what’s not?

Movie viewing can be a great family bonding experience, whether it’s in a theater or through a streaming service on your TV. Here are some ways to ensure the whole family can enjoy it:

Understand movie ratings

Learn the movie ratings and what each one means. Before you head to the nearest theater, it’s good to know the difference between G, PG or PG-13. Parents employed by the Motion Picture Association of America’s Classification and Ratings Administration assign ratings based on what they believe “a majority of American parents” would consider appropriate, depending on language, violence, and other content.

Check out movie reviews

Go to the sources. There are several organizations, websites, and blogs that review movies. Here are a few that go more in-depth in analyzing the family friendliness factor.

  • Common Sense Media rates movies based on age-appropriateness, and kids’ developmental stages. Their ratings use criteria like educational value, positive messaging, violence, and drug use. They also offer guides for discussing movies with kids after seeing them.
  • Rotten Tomatoes breaks down many popular movies on how kid-friendly they are.
  • Kids in Mind scores films based on their levels of sex and nudity, violence and gore, and language. The website also explains the scores, detailing certain scenes in the film.

Make it a regular routine

Plan a movie viewing at home on Friday nights or a monthly trip to the theater with the family. Check your local YMCA branches for “movie nights” during the year as well!

Discuss what you watched

Ask kids about their favorite parts of the film and parts they didn’t like and why. Talk about details like the costumes, music or characters. Discussions help build their social skills, creativity, and imaginations, as well as their cognitive abilities.



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