My kids were recently itching to sit down and watch all 8 Harry Potter movies in one day. Yes. All eight.
After doing the math, I realized that it would take 19 hours and 40 minutes to watch all of the movies. Images of my comatose children, sprawled out in the living room danced through my head. It wasn’t a pretty picture.
Holding a movie marathon with kids wouldn’t be as easy as one would imagine. After much convincing, I persuaded them to drag the movies out over a 2 day period.
Hello Mr. Potter and friends.
Alas, after years of parenting, I’m beginning to think ahead on situations like this. Will my squirrelly 9 year old really sit still and watch movies for a 10 hours straight? For 2 days in a row? Not likely.
I set out to make our movie marathon with kids one that wouldn’t be completely destroyed by energetic kiddos.
I came up with 8 things we needed to make our movie watching enjoyable to all. (Yes, even mama!)
The secret is to not just veg out on junk food. Sure a bag of M&Ms is the perfect movie snack but if you expect your kiddos to hang out (calmly) for hours at a time, you should probably limit the junk food. For our Harry Potter marathon, we made “brooms” from pretzels and string cheese. We also whipped up healthy smoothies, to help keep the bellies full in between meals. Easy to grab snacks, like grapes or carrots are also less messy than chips or cookies.
Draw the curtain, turn off the lights and get your area set up comfortably before hitting “play.” You want the kids to have several options, so when they do start to get antsy, they can just switch positions, moving from the couch, to the floor, to the chair, etc. Throw sleeping bags and comfy pillows in the floor for extra seating. You can also set up an air mattress, or for added fun, let the kids bring their mattresses into the living room. Plenty of blankets, pillows and extra space are the ticket to keeping kids comfy.
Don’t Skip Meals-
It’s easy to just veg out on junk food and forget all about meals. To keep the amount of unhealthy and sugary snacks at bay, throw something in the Crockpot and make a healthy and hearty meal. Kids will be less grumpy and you will be glad you didn’t just order a pizza. I’ve found it best to avoid pizzas, hotdogs and other “convenience foods” for dinner, after a day of binging on junk food. You can even make a dinner that ties in with your movies. (Check out the Harry Potter Cookbook, if you’re watching Harry Potter, like us!) Our bellies crave something healthy so be sure to sneak in at least one healthy meal.
Let the kids know that you will watch 2 movies, take an hour break and then jump back into the movies. This gives them some time alone and gives you plenty of time to get some things done around the house. By acknowledging the upcoming breaks, kids will feel less antsy.
Nothing ruins a movie marathon with kids quite like an interruption. Make sure than grandparents and neighbors know that you don’t want to be disturbed during you marathon. Once they show up, it’s harder to get them out the door so you can enjoy your movie marathon with kids. Just put the bug in their ear that this weekend, visitors are off-limits at your house, as you will be enjoying some family time. (Trust me, the days you don’t want guests to interrupt are the days that you can guarantee someone will drop by!)
It’s easy to scroll through your Facebook newsfeed as the movie plays in the background. But your kiddos will enjoy some time with you, sans electronics. Turn off all phones, Kindles, laptops and other electronic devices. Give the movie your undivided attention and your kids will notice. Being present with your kids is priceless.
Allow the kids to use the restroom as needed but stick with one simple rule: Each person only gets one “Pause Break” during the movie marathon. This makes kids used their break wisely. If they need to pee and a movie is at the climax, you can pause it, but just once. Once their “Pause Break” has been used, they will just have to hurry so they don’t miss out on the movie. Encourage them to take advantage of other people’s “Pause Breaks” by hitting the toilet while the movie is already paused.
Use your time wisely. While you are changing the DVD, have them get up and do some exercises. Jumping jacks, running in place or jumping an invisible jump-rope are simple and effective ways to burn energy quickly. By getting their energy out during the breaks, they will be less likely to become distracted and move around during the movies.
Using our 8 tips, you can hold a fun movie marathon with kids that they’ll remember forever!
This post is part of iHomeschool Network’s Harry Potter 20th Anniversary Celebration.