If you know me, you know I'm not a mom who shies away from a little screen time now and again, especially since I value things like, I don't know, showering and cooking actual food for dinner. Last summer we definitely exceeded the average 2 hours daily screen time while we were going through all that bone marrow transplant nonsense. You'll notice though, child psychologists, my kids survived and as far as I can tell their brains are just fine-ish.
We've since cut it down considerably and, miracle of miracles, some days the TV doesn't even come on (Hallelur-yuh!) but we've started a family movie night once a week as a fun evening activity, complete with popcorn and sofa-snuggling. The challenge with our young kids is finding a movie that's enjoyable for all of us. Like many things in life, Phil and I obviously have to sacrifice our personal tastes for the good of the children (Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson will have to wait) but there are some compromises we just. can't. make. Like, for example, an actual plot (gasp!) and some humor to keep us awake and engaged. Ocean likes exciting adventures with lots of action. Iris, for being such a tough cookie, is quite the delicate flower when it comes to movies and TV. She's extremely sensitive to anything dark or any type of adversity. Which is sort of a problem since every movie ever made has the whole protagonist/antagonist thing happening.
I've found three flicks that work for our family, and are particularly good for the sensitive set with a real lack of anything scary or threatening, which I wanted to pass on in case anyone else has run into the same conundrum.
1. Curious George. Will Ferrell is funny as The Man With the Yellow Hat, the plot is interesting and while Ivan, the doorman, is a little intimidating his few scenes are short and can be easily fast-forwarded without losing any of the plot.
2. Disney's Cars. And not just because Iris is obsessed with Lightning McQueen. It's funny and the story is sweet with good lessons built in. The only scary part is when McQueen and Mater are being chased through the corn fields by a combine harvester (did I mention Iris also loves trucks and tractors?) and, again, that part can be skipped right over.
3. Alvin and the Chipmunks. There's a tiny bit of potty humor which is less than desirable but nothing overtly nasty. And nothing frightening or dark. The plot is interesting enough to keep us all on board and the music is toe-tappin' good.
It goes without saying that you should preview these before showing them to your kids but they have worked well as our movie night staples.
And what about you? What family-friendly movies are you watching with your kids that I'm missing?