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How to Pick a Family Movie Without Picking a Family Fight

Our family loves watching movies. Going to the theater, getting our favorite snacks and sugary drinks, and watching a new movie on the huge theater screen makes my children happy. When my children are happy, so am I... because I absolutely adore their excited little faces and seeing their small little bodies in those big theater seats.

But it isn’t always roses and butterflies, y’all. Those smiling faces can quickly turn into a face you’d see in a horror film if one of my kids doesn’t get his or her way.

In our almost 10 years of parenting, we’ve learned things along the way. Although we don’t always do things correctly or handle situations the best way, we do occasionally learn how to extinguish the flame before it turns into a wildfire. Here are our guidelines for picking a family movie without picking a family fight:

1. Research Your Options
This is probably the most important factor when trying to pick a family movie without picking a family fight. We use Fandango's Family Room to see what’s currently playing at the theater. We can then get a deeper look into the movie with its content-breakdown ratings and “What Parents Need to Know.” We use these features to weed out the movies that we feel aren’t appropriate or even those we feel might not be as enjoyable as others.

2. Don’t Overload Them with Choices
Seriously. It took me years to figure this out. I would blurt out all their options and, like clockwork, they would all blurt out a different choice. And not one of them wanted to give in to the other. This left Dad and I frustrated, flustered and ready to leave the theater. Children do better when they don’t have to think too much about a decision, so limiting their options seems to work for us.

3. Designate a “Picker” Before You Get There
I find this works really well most of the time. Start a rotation and allow each child to have a turn choosing the movie. If the rotation trick doesn’t work for you, my friend Annie suggests Popsicle sticks: “We have Popsicle sticks – one for each person in the family. (We decorate them ourselves too!) And each family movie night, we draw a name to see who picks the movie!”

4. Split and Conquer
You can still go to the theater as a family and enjoy a family movie night. My children are all pretty close in age, but my daughter is older than my boys and sometimes has differing tastes. When all else fails, I say split and conquer. Not only will everyone thoroughly enjoy their time, it will also give you a more personal bonding experience with your child or children.

Crystal writes at Simply Being Mommy about life in Texas, being a mom of three, family travel, surrogacy, and more. To read more by Crystal, visit or follow her on Twitter @SimplyBeingMom.

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