5 tips for a fun family movie night with a 3D plasma TV

You and your spouse work. The kids go to school and are involved in sports, band and clubs. Plus they want to hang out with their friends. There are errands to run and household chores for everyone. You're lucky if you get to talk to each other a few minutes a day. We all lead busy lives these days, so if you want to have some family time, you have to plan for it.

Tip No. 1: Make a plan

Let everyone know that Sunday night is family movie night. Sunday's a good choice for everyone to gather because school functions are usually on Fridays and Saturdays. And having a cool element, such as a fancy, new Samsung plasma 3D TV will keep the kids from whining as you begin the tradition. By the time the newness wears off, the routine will be set!

Tip No. 2: Pick a movie

Picking a movie everyone wants to watch can be a challenge. You can use the reward system. For example, if one of your kids made the all-A honor roll or scored the winning goal for the soccer team this week, that child gets to choose. If you have two kids, there are four people in the household. There are four Sundays in a typical month. That makes it easy. Or you can determine a theme for each month and pick movies that relate to the theme. For example, in January, all the movies you watch could be about winter. February could be about love, love for a pet, family, etc. Just find a system that works for your family, pick a move and then slip the disc in the Blu-ray player.

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Tip No. 3: Prepare healthy snacks

A plasma 3D TV makes everything bigger and more dramatic, so a scary scene could make everyone a little jumpy. It might be best not to snack on food that's going to make a big mess if spilled, such as grape juice. Speaking of snacks, since people mindlessly eat whatever's in front of them while watching a movie, it's a good time to sneak healthy foods into your family's diet. The key is to have a variety of foods. Fill a small tray with fresh veggies and dip. Fill another with fresh fruit. Fill a bowl with pretzels, one with nuts and one with air-popped popcorn.

Tip No. 4: Have a plan B

Just as you had to plan for family movie night, you need to have a plan in case things go wrong. For example, there's a storm or something that causes the electricity to go out. No electricity means no more TV. But you still want family time. So make a game out of what you think will happen, and the person who figures it out doesn't have to help clean up after. Light a few candles and play board games. A plan B can also be helpful in case no one likes the movie or it takes a non-family-friendly turn.

Tip No. 5: Everyone cleans up

Once the movie's over, you have a checklist of things to do: Make sure you turned off the plasma TV, 3D glasses are put away, leftovers are put in the refrigerator and pantry, and the dishwasher is loaded with plates, bowls and glasses. Assign each person something to do. If you rented the movie, place it by the front door so you won't forget to return it. While you clean up, talk about the movie (especially if there were life lessons you want your children to learn). Then start thinking about what you'll watch next week on family movie night. With just a little planning, your TV can bring your family together.

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