Monday, 13 August 2012

Movie nights with the kids

There's something so special about the quiet, lazy little moments we share with our kids. As active a family as we are and as against the idea of extensive screen time for kids as I am (our house rules include a "no Wii on weekdays" policy and a one-hour daily TV viewing maximum) there are very few things I love as much as our family movie nights.

We have a spare mattress that we keep in the crawlspace under the basement stairs just for movie nights. We move the coffee table out of the way and set up the mattress between the couches in the living room. The boys change into jammies and grab their pillows and a favourite stuffy each from their bedrooms and set them up side-by-side on the mattress while my husband pops a big bowl of buttery popcorn. I tuck the kids in with the great big fleecy blankets we keep for cozying up on the couch. We close the shutters on the windows, turn off the overhead lights and all snuggle up together for an hour and a half of lazy family fun.

I've never been a movie-goer - I've never understood movies as a date-night activity, sitting in silence and staring at a screen rather than looking at and talking to each other - or even a movie-watcher. I just don't have the ninety-minute-plus attention span and get very impatient sitting and doing nothing for an hour and a half. I'm much more of a TV-as-background-noise kind of girl. But there's something about those family movie nights with the husband and kids. I love it when we all laugh at the same parts, seeing the kids' sense of humour develop as they grow and develop their own little personalities. I love it when they quote their favourite lines back to me or act out their favourite parts or ask the whys and wherefores of the backstory behind what's happening on-screen. I love the cuddles and snuggles. That time just seems so special, a cozy little break from reality and the rush of normal family life.

So although I much prefer active play out in the yard or at the park, creative play with crafts and make-believe or engaging play with board games over spaced-out screen time, I love our lazy family movie nights snuggled up as a family while fantasy plays out on the big screen in front of us. These moments are among my favourite memories.

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