It’s a snow day, but not for you. — you’ve got work to do. Meanwhile, the blizzard conditions are keeping your kids stuck inside. This makes them grouchy. Snow is for playing in, not for watching from the inside. They’re clamoring for entertainment and you’ve got a rapidly filling inbox.
Luckily for you, there’s Netflix! You thank all the people who invented moviemaking and also the people who came up with the idea of streaming. So many smart people are going to help you today.
But you can’t just let your kids choose any old movie. Given their freedom, they will choose the movie with the most explosions. Do you want your kids watching explode-y movies while you’re trying to focus in the next room? No you do not. Or what if they choose something PG-13 or even (gasp!) R-rated and there are adult situations? Do you want this to be the day your kids learn too much too soon? You don’t have time for awkward conversations.
Here are some safe choices for your school-age kids, who, depending on their attention spans, will probably be entertained long enough to leave you alone until the credits roll.
Judy Hopps becomes the first rabbit police officer in Zootopia and uncovers a conspiracy she must solve. Zootopia deals smartly with big issues like prejudice and stereotyping, and will give you much to discuss after you’re done working, which will be when I’m done guys, come on.
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
A wacky dad scientist leaves his shrinking machine alone and unattended, at which point his teenage kids and their friends mess with it — and shrink themselves. It’s a classic; they’ll love it. Now let Mommy take this call.
If your kids haven’t seen Babe yet, well, you know what you have to do. Forget Charlotte’s Web: Babe’s where it’s at. Babe is an adorable piglet who learns that he is, in his heart, a sheepdog. During the heartwarming 90 minutes, you can answer your emails and maybe even take a break to stare out the window and wonder if you’ll ever be free again.
Paddington! He’s a bear from Peru who comes to London. It is adorable, I think. I haven’t seen it. I’ve been busy, OK? Give me a break. It’s highly rated.
Kung Fu Panda 3
Po the panda and his friends engage in battle with a fearsome bull who has been wreaking havoc all over China. The Kung Fu Panda franchise is consistently delightful, and — no, sorry, you’ve all had enough hot chocolate. No, we do not have marshmallows. Yes, I wish we did too.
The Iron Giant
A giant metal robot befriends a young boy. Warning: The ending might cause crying, so just make sure you have enough time to schedule some comfort time in between calls.
Cats & Dogs
There’s a secret war between cats and dogs — a high-tech, espionage-packed kind of secret war — and it comes to a head when Professor Brody, a scientist, tries to create a serum to cure dog allergies. This movie is adorable and hilarious and will entertain your kids while you restart your computer for the fifth time and practice your alternate-nostril breathing.
Dory searches for her parents — and finds herself. That makes it sound like she’s just meditating the whole time, but really, she and Marlin and Nemo have all kinds of adventures, make new friends, face dangers and (yes) learn a little something about themselves. Your kids will love it so much they may even stop fighting over who gets the comfy blanket.
Got any dancers in the house? They’ll gobble up this riveting documentary on young dancers preparing for the Youth America Grand Prix while you finally manage to focus on your to-do list. This might actually work! Wait a minute, who’s doing jetés in the living room, for the love of…
Phineas and Ferb The Movie
If you’re familiar with Phineas and Ferb the television show, you know how delightful it is. If you don’t, you now have (in addition to the movie) 135 episodes your kids can watch. Phineas and Ferb is an animated musical comedy show (and movie!) about brothers who engage in highly sophisticated hijinks while their sister tries (and always fails) to thwart them. Uh, 135 episodes plus a movie?! Listen, even if they’ve seen it once, it’s time to watch again. Mama’s got to bring home the bacon. (Maybe don’t mention bacon if they’ve just watched Babe.)