Guest Blogger: Karyn Bowman blogs about Family Movie Night

Have you ever thought “I want to start a ‘family movie night at my house?”

And then that is as far as you get?

I have been there but I made it happen. The story of how that happened is a little long and the particulars have been largely forgotten. And yet this is one of the most enduring traditions of our family.

I should explain first and foremost that I am a big movie fan. I worked for seven years as a movie reviewer for our local paper and I still blog for the paper on a bi-weekly basis. As much as I love watching movies, I want to share that experience with my kids.

Friday Night is our designated “Pizza and Movie” night. Someone gets a movie or we find something on a cable station and watch a movie together as we are eating pizza. It is that simple. Most Fridays, there is nothing else planned so gathering together makes it all that much easier. Before you know it, friends of the kids show up and the house is a little crowded.

So there we are, making lots of pizzas and having plenty of soft drinks while we watch a movie. Friends of each child show up, the husband retreats to the kitchen and I make room for myself in the living room. If friends talk during the movie they are quickly shushed.

Trying to figure out how we started took a little digging. Because I am a creature of habit, long ago I made Fridays “Pizza Night.” Our eleven-year-old daughter stated we have been doing it for as long as she could remember. The fifteen-year-old said the same thing. That is when I went to our 20-year-old.

His report was that we just started doing it. Sometimes it was a movie, sometimes it was whatever was on TV. Friday nights were always pizza and movie night. I remember allowing the kids a choice in the feature. As more kids arrived at the age of being able to pick, we allowed each child to choose a movie on a rotating basis. If need be, I put down my two cents if I thought the original choice may not be so good for the youngest family member.

As I write this, my other memory is that my husband used to work on Friday nights. He is my second husband and it made life easier on visitation weekends and non-visitation weekends to have routines for the entire family. This gave our oldest continuity in some way, shape or form.

As our children have grown older, my husband encouraged the kids to invite friends. Friends meant we needed more pizzas with different toppings. Pepperoni, sausage, plain cheese, spinach and mushroom for mom and dad.

I know you are wondering how you start your own movie night. The first and best step is setting aside that one night every week that is pizza and movie night.  Pick a day that works best for your family.

Then pick out a movie every week, let the kids make a selection even if it is something you hate (can we say “The Smurfs?”). Shop ahead of time for food and make the kids a part of the pizza-making process. We buy the pre-made shells and the kids like to put on the toppings although I think it is so they can snitch pepperoni slices.

Next, set a start time for the movie and stick with it. In the winter, I start at 6 p.m.; summertime goes up to 7 p.m. Scheduling conflicts might get in the way and you can use those flexibility muscles to fit it in if it is that important to you.

We have done that when games or church events find their way onto a Friday night. Or when we decided to do Movie Night at a drive-in instead of at home. Or when traveling. Well, you get it. Nothing makes a habit like the continual practice of it. And you can start the practice this week.

What movies do you watch on your Family Movie Night?

Karyn Bowman writes the Notes From Rumbly Cottage blog on WordPress. On Fridays she posts about Family Movie Night and the rest of the week can be about anything else.

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