Whether you've got boys or girls, toddlers or teens, or anything in between, there are definitely movies out there that can appeal to your entire audience, believe it or not. My 3-year-old was just cracking up during the "potty scene" in Alvin and The Chipmunks, The Sweakquel. Meanwhile, I was diggin' the Chipettes version of Katy Perry's "Hot 'N Cold". Okay, bad example. My point is, family movies today aim to please everyone in the family, so it's likely you will be able to find something that everyone will like.
Steer clear of scary
And I'm not talking Friday the 13th scary. If you have younger kids, avoid movies that have scenes that might frighten or confuse them with topics they are not prepared to understand.
Finding Nemo seems like a great flick for the whole family. After all, who doesn't love Ellen DeGeneres' delightfully addicting character Dory, who just can't seem to remember a thing? However, themes of death (Marlin losing his wife and nearly his entire family in the opening scene) and getting lost from your parent (as Nemo does) could leave little ones confused. Mom Jennifer said her 4-year-old son asked her to turn off the flick once the fish in the tank wanted to "initiate" Nemo into "Tankhood." Cute if you're 10. Scary if you're four.
Make it fun!
Outside of the movie selection, make movie night one your whole family will anticipate, even if it's not their turn to pick the flick. Cruise the dollar store for microwave popcorn and movie-theater concession favorites that will make movie night a real treat for the whole family.
Turn the lights down, pour you and hubby a glass of wine and enjoy some quality family time! Or make an outing of family movie night once in a while and take the whole gang out to see the latest family film in the theater. (Note, matinees are ideal for those with younger ones... just in case there are any mid-movie meltdowns!)
To the internet! Arm yourself with some top-selection ideas before your and your family head to the movie store (or order a flick online). A simple Google search can help you narrow new releases, or check in with your local movie store to reserve an in-demand flick so your brood won't be disappointed to find it's gone before you get there.
Decide what's age-appropriate for your family
Family films like the Shrek series are great because the sense of humor (c'mon, Eddie Murphy!) appeals to adults, big names like Mike Myers and Cameron Diaz appeals to teens/tweens and the cute characters like Donkey and Puss in Boots will make your little ones smile.
Let your family members weigh in
Develop a system that works for your family and allows every member to get a chance to select the movie. Whether by taking turns, taking a vote or allowing the members of your family to make a top-three list of movies they want to see, then making a final selection that's appropriate for everyone based on everyone's "top threes," it's important to help the members in your family feel vested in the decision. Don't be the dictator of decision-making, but ultimately you'll need to okay the final selection.
Check the movie rating
Most parents might be surprised to find that even some family movies are rated PG-13.
Make sure you form a decision with your spouse on what you feel are topics that should not be presented during movie night. Some family movies are sprinkled with adult-content jokes might make you squirm on your sofa hoping your younger ones won't ask, "Mommy, what does that mean?"