Finding entertainment the whole family can feel good about.


“Mom! Mom, do you like Justin Beaver?” (not a typo)
“Mom, EVERYONE at school has seen Gnomeo & Juliet and they said it is SO funny. Can we go?”
“But Mom, John’s mom lets him watch the Terminator!”

If you have little bitty ones at home, you may not have had these conversations at your house yet. But believe me, it’s coming. We live in a culture heavily influenced by the media and entertainment, and even if you try to limit your child’s exposure with time limits for the computer and sanctioned T.V. channels, somehow they still know what’s going on out there.

So what’s a mom to do when the latest kid-flick is being advertised in heavy rotation and the toys are all over the shelves and in their kids’ meal?  Well, around here we take three basic approaches.

1) If we know right out of the gate that the movie, T.V. program, or video game is inappropriate for their ages or our values, we “just say no.” Parents still feel empowered to say, “no” to their kids, right? When we have to say no, which to our kids seems like A LOT, we try to follow it up with a good explanation as to why we’re saying no. They won’t be under our wings forever and will eventually have to make good choices on their own. Hopefully this exercise is teaching them to be wise.

2) If we’re not sure whether the movie they want to see is appropriate, we usually head to one of my favorite websites: This is a great site. They review everything: movies, videos, music, T.V., and video games. They shoot straight in categories like violent content, sexual content, spiritual content, etc. Basically, they let you know what you’re getting yourself into when you head to the multiplex. And I confess that my husband and I use it before date night, too. If a movie is rated R, I want to know why. We also use a popular mail order service for DVD rental. Most of the time they have a very helpful guide for each movie with an age-appropriate rating.

3) When all else fails, we just go back in time. In the last couple of years we’ve introduced our kids to lots of the really great family films of the 1950’s and 1960’s. The (original!) Parent Trap, The Apple Dumplin’ Gang, Singin’ in the Rain…I could make a huge list! They’re readily available, full of slapstick humor that doesn’t cross the line into something crass, and teach our kids a little bit of history without them even knowing it! Did you know that you could teach your kids about colonization by watching The Swiss Family Robinson? Oh, and the coconut bombs they use to fight off the pirates are pretty cool, too.

Also consider taking your kids to live theater instead of the movies. Childsplay:, Christian Youth Theater of Phoenix:, The Great Arizona Puppet Theater: – these are all great resources for family entertainment that think outside the box, and there’s lots of others. Phoenix has tons of live theater for kids.

So how about you? How do you choose good entertainment for your family? Have you seen a good movie recently you would like to recommend? Post your comments below…and pass the popcorn.


  1. Oh I love this! I have to say two new movies that I LOVE are “How to Train your Dragon” and “Tangled” – both really well done and wholesome – my kind of movies for sure! I also love old flicks! My grandma got me tons of Shirley Temple movies when I was little and I still love them! I’d love to see your list of oldies for kiddos – Chinny Chinny Bang Bang and The Horse in the Gray Flanel Suit come to mind 🙂

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