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Movie Day: How to Start a Movie Day Tradition and System That Works Screen Time to Your Advantage

How to host a movie day for kids, and how to work screentime for kids to your advantage with a special movie day event!

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Watching a movie is a standby fun activity for a very good reason! Is there a kid who doesn’t love and relish the moment they get to watch a show?

But summertime comes and sometimes it feels like a movie is the regular default activity.

Most parents go two ways:
1. They just hand kids the remote and let them watch whatever because summer is hard and parents still have work to do. Or…
2. They feel a little guilty about screentime and really limit it to completely take it away.
Friends, there is a better way! There’s a happy medium of letting kids enjoy movies, getting work done, and balancing screen time with other activities.

Intentional Movie Time

Honestly, we try to limit screen time in our home, mostly because my kids’ behavior changes in a way that makes my life harder when we do. But we’ve loved doing family movie night weekly with homemade pizza and popcorn, and watching together. It’s something we all look forward to! However, as the spring and summer sports seasons and practices took over, life got very busy! We found ourselves missing a lot of weekend family movie nights.

Around this time, my husband had a fun dad moment where he decided we should head to Disneyland for spring break. He’s always wanted to do a big surprise trip, and this was his moment! We found a great deal on Disneyland tickets and hotel packages and booked a trip with a few weeks to spare. It’s always more fun when your kids are familiar with characters, and I knew the easiest way to help my kids enjoy Disneyland more would be to watch a few key Disney movies.

Popping the popcorn for a Movie Day tradition for families.

Starting a Movie Day Tradition

Our schools do an early-out day one day a week, and essentially, my kids are home for an entire afternoon. I decided to pull a fun mom moment one early out day and declare it a movie day. It felt like the perfect time to show a classic Disney movie to get my kids pumped up for our upcoming trip.

I had my kids finish a few chores and homework quickly. We popped some popcorn, and I introduced my kids to a Disney classic we’d never seen together.

What started as a fun mom moment turned into a traditional my kids really genuinely look forward to and love.

Being Intentional with Movie Time

I think the difference between turning on a random movie at any time and making a movie day tradition is what transforms screen time. An intentional and set routine helps everyone know when a movie is happening without the constant begging for a show.
But movie time also feels really special, and really fun when there’s a set routine.

It’s currently summer break, and instead of shaming screen time, I’m here for parents to use it to their advantage! Find a time that you need to get more work done or need a break. Make it feel special and intentional for kids.

Work a movie day and screentime as a bonding experience to watch movies together or get more done. Just be intentional and hype up the moments you decide to make it happen.

Family eating popcorn ready to enjoy a weekly Movie Day Tradition.

Movie Day Tradition and Routine

  1. Choose a designated day and time.

    You can do a set day, “afternoons we don’t have sports practice”, or a specific time movie day happens. But make it official so it feels exciting and like a tradition more than a crutch.
  2. Set a routine to earn the movie.

    I’d recommend something like our summer screen time rules chart to help kids finish what they need to and feel like they earned the special fun movie day.
  3. Get excited with your kids!

    Even if I don’t watch the movie, I let them know how fun and special it is they get to watch a movie. I know the enthusiasm rubs off, and feeling excited and hyping it up makes it feel like a fun tradition to look forward to.
  4. Bring on the snacks!

    Pop popcorn and have designated treats or snacks for movie day. We love using this silicone popcorn popper with popcorn kernels and butter-flavored coconut oil to make fresh popcorn. It is our big signal that it’s movie day, and it makes the seemingly relaxed afternoon activity feel really special.
  5. Take turns choosing the movie for movie day.

    If you have multiple kids or family members to appease, make a schedule and alternate who gets to choose. We make a rule that there’s no complaining when it’s not your turn. This makes everyone feel invested and also included whether it’s their turn or not.
  6. Make sure to mix in plenty of other activities.

    The thing with fun experiences is, that they need to feel novel. If every day is movie day, it feels entitled and expected. But if you mix in other activities, and movie day only happens once or twice a week, it really does feel special.

    I’m team get a family pass and get out of the house when you can. And also team find fun free activities to enjoy together. Check out our 150 summer activities for some great ideas to mix up movie day with plenty of other activities for kids!

I know this simple pleasure can really bring families together, can help kids know boundaries, and lays the ground for a lot of easy fun!

If you like the movie day tradition, be sure to check out these ideas too!

Summer Screen Time Rules

52 Excellent Family Movies the Entire Family Will Enjoy Watching

Summer Movies for Kids

How to Create Your Own Outdoor Movie Theater for Backyard Movie Nights

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