You could say I take our home entertainment events a little too seriously, but I object. Spending time with my kids, at home, where they are safe and warm and happy, surrounded by delicious snacks is one of my favourite things to do.
Here’s how you can set up your own ultimate family movie night, affectionately referred to in my home as “movie parties.”
1. Don’t let the kids choose the movie.
They were all much younger when we had our first movie party and it was much easier to get them to agree on a movie to watch. These days it’s completely impossible. The older kids want to watch superhero and sci-fi movies and the younger ones want to watch anything at all that is animated.
So I decide on the movie. It’s the only way to do it. Sometimes they grumble a bit.
“I don’t want to watch this movie,” they say in a super-annoying, whiney voice. “I want to watch the other movie.”
Normally waving a bowl of yummy snacks in front of their faces shuts them up long enough for them to watch the first few minutes of the movie I’ve chosen, after which they’re usually hooked.
Madagascar was a hit. So was Night at the Museum and Mrs. Doubtfire. Can I pick ‘em or can I pick ‘em?
"Can I pick ‘em or can I pick ‘em?" Image: 20th Century Fox.
2. Make sure everyone is comfortable.
Our first ultimate family movie night, known in my home as a "movie party" happened accidentally when we had my niece and nephews joining us and I didn’t have enough comfortable chairs for them all. The kids pulled all the pillows and sheets off the beds and lay them out on the lounge room floor.
They got hungry so I filled up a few bowls with fruit, chips and lollies, then we settled in for a pretty awesome movie night.
3. Include healthy snacks too.
As our movie parties have evolved, I’ve had to up my snack game. The kids constantly ask when we’ll do our next one but I deliberately space them out. I want them to remain special, something they have to wait to enjoy again.
Upping my snack game involved rethinking how much delicious treat food I was serving, because in a total rookie move, I forgot that we needed some savoury snacks to break up the sweet and vice versa.
The trick to perfect movie party snacks is having lots of bowls of different snacks so we can deftly switch from chips to chocolate to fruit to cereal, grabbing handfuls whenever we remember to.
Our snack rotation is pretty sorted. Our staple snacks are corn chips with salsa, chocolate buttons, strawberries and Nutri-Grain. Then each time I pull out a limited edition show stopper. Like the week I made fairy bread, or the time I added a bowl of chicken nuggets.
Strawberries always go down a treat! Especially when they're dipped in chocolate. Image: Pexels.
4. Mum is officially "in retirement" during the duration of the movie.
A great 'teaching moment' at movie parties is the lesson that mum (me!) deserves to enjoy the movie too. That means they can’t ask me for a million things for the duration of the movie. They’d better use the toilet beforehand because I’m not pausing it. They know to keep their eye on their bottle of water because I’m not refilling it.
I make sure we have plenty of snacks to choose from so we don’t run out, necessitating a trip to the kitchen.
And there is absolutely NO TALKING during the movie that is above a whisper. I never realised how loudly kids could whisper!
5. Everyone helps set up and pack up.
“I am not your slave,” I state firmly. With those words, everyone who enjoyed the movie party has to help pack it all up, down to the last chocolate button that has been lost under the lounge (and the last pile of Froot Loops left next to someone’s pillow).
They grizzle at first but then usually get on with it, chatting about the movie as they go and grabbing a few last handfuls of snacks before. Next, I get out the plastic zip-lock bags, signalling that it is time to stop eating, brush their teeth and GO TO BED!
They are a well-oiled machine. Cutie pies.
To organise your own family ultimate movie night, stock up on your favourite specially-marked Kellogg’s cereals and snacks. Your night’s entertainment is covered too. Visit www.familymovienight.com.au to redeem your free Digital HD movie. It’s so easy you’ll be snuggled up on the couch in no time.
How do you organise your movie nights?
At Kellogg's, we know how important it is to spend time with the family, and how much of a challenge it can be to entertain the kids when we lead such busy lives, so we’re helping families reconnect over family movie favourites.
All you need to do is purchase 3 specially marked Kellogg’s products before 31 October 2016, and follow the instructions at www.familymovienight.com.au to choose your Digital HD movie from the range to own and watch over and over again (movies must be redeemed before March 2017). Google Play account required. Terms and conditions apply.