If there’s one place where you’ll find high levels of disagreement, it’s going to be how people feel when it comes to raising kids. That said, today’s kids tend to have a little more freedom in how they operate in the home, and this is where the topic of family movies comes into play. Though you could use the MPAA ratings system as a general guide to know what’s right for the whole family, you’ll still have a difference of opinion depending on who you ask in the family. Moreover, if you gave kids a chance to choose the next family movie for movie night, you might be in for a real doozy.

We know how most kids’ movies tend to look: animation, animation, and more animation. Whether hand-drawn, CGI, or any other method, the animation of kids’ movies is pretty familiar because it’s been an industry staple for many decades. Parents are also aware that they’ve seen the same animated movie dozens of times because that’s all their kids will watch. So, the question remains — do you actually want to give kids a chance to pick a movie for family night?

Well, yes, but there are things to consider. You can’t just give that kind of responsibility to someone who’ll make a meal out of Goldfish crackers and ice-cream. You need to have some basic rules in place:

Limit the Choices 

Ask them to choose their two favorite movies. Then, let them know that they can pick the movie for movie night, but it can only be from those two movies. This way, they’ve made the call as to the pool of movies to choose from & the final decision. This reduces the chances for a major power-struggle.

Create Consequences 

If they start the movie of their choice, there is no stopping and opting for the other movie. The consequence is that they have to live with their choice because it was their choice to make in the first place. You can also establish that the next time they choose a movie for movie night, they can’t pick the same movie.

Maintain Consistency 

Make a point of rotating who chooses the movie for movie night each week. In a family of four, each person will have a turn every four weeks. This consistency will help your kid develop a schedule. It also reminds them that they’ve got to keep track of what choice was made the week before.

There are many other reasons that letting your kiddos have some say in family movie night can be good for them (and the family as a whole), but it all really has to do with developing skills in self-management & having a sense of ownership in the family home.

Family movies are nothing more than what you’ve got on the screen with the whole gang around you. Whether you’re parked in the living room at home or hanging out at your local theater, the movie plays second fiddle to the time you’re spending with each other. So, your kid likes to watch the same VHS tape or DVD all the time. At least they like watching it with you.