Movies You Should Make Your Kids Watch Before They’re Teenagers

December 24, 2019 by

There are a lot of things you want to do with your kids before they grow up and think they are too cool for you. If you’re already a movie buff yourself, then introducing them to all of your favorite childhood movies is probably one of those things. And these are some of the movies to make your kids watch before they are teenagers.

To some parents, movies like The Goonies and Jumanji are classics and like a rite of passage for kids to watch and enjoy like you did as a kid yourself. Other movies, like Matilda and The Parent Trap, can help encourage your child’s imagination before they are too old to want to do anything more than talk back and roll their eyes at you. Because as depressing as that thought is, your kids will eventually make that leap.

Before that happens, though, you can have some serious bonding time with your little ones by introducing them to the best movies from your own childhood. Some of these teeters on the edge of being PG-rated and something more risque, so it’s up to you to decide if your kids can handle each of these movies, depending on their age. But even if there are just a few of these that entice your kids, you can have a lot of fun re-watching these movies through your kids’ eyes.

Free Willy

This 1993 movie about a young orphan who befriends a captured Orca whale is enough to tug on anyone’s heartstrings. Watching the boy’s struggles to find where he belongs is totally worth it though to watch the iconic moment when he helps the whale escape captivity at the end of the movie.


TriStar Pictures/YouTube

Your kid will probably end up wishing he or she could make their own breakfast with telekinetic powers just like the title character in Matilda by the time it’s over, but they might also learn a few lessons about friendship and family along the way. While the movie will definitely park some imagination and wonder in young minds, it might also appreciate you as their parent a little more.

The Indian In The Cupboard

This is another one that was made in book form first. The story follows a young boy who is gifted a magical cupboard that can make whatever toys are placed inside come to life. Don’t be surprised if your id walks away from the movie wanting a magical toy cupboard of their own.

The Goonies

Despite some of the adult humor thrown in for your benefit, The Goonies is the perfect movie for any kid. It’s all about friendship and adventure as the core group of young friends embark on a real life treasure hunt while evading clever criminals in the process.

My Girl

Columbia Pictures/YouTube

If you can handle a tear-jerker, My Girl is another one to add to your kid’s movie list. The classic movie is a coming of age story about tomboy Vada that involves love, loss, and being forced to grow up a little, even if Vada doesn’t want to.

The Princess Bride

If your kids haven’t yet seen The Princess Bride, it is easily a must see for children of all ages. It follows a different kind of fairy-tale about a princess and her true love who are separated and must find their way back to each other. Unlike other fairy-tale movies, however, there is some legitimate humor in this one.

Home Alone

Although Home Alone is technically a Christmas movie, there’s no reason why you and your kids can’t enjoy it any time of year. Once you get over how unbelievable young Kevin McCallister’s antics are, it’s easy to sit back and watch him defend his house against a pair of dim-witted burglars.

Mrs. Doubtfire

Twentieth Century Fox/YouTube

Robin Williams stars as a divorced dad who dresses up like an elderly nanny to get close to his kids. It’s a pretty wild premise, but he’s probably the only actor who could make it work, which makes this a classic movie for kids to watch before they are teenagers.


Williams also plays a key character in Jumanji. The adventure fantasy movie is about a board game that brings jungle characters to life. Your kids might want to see the newer Jumanji installments, but to really appreciate them, they should see this one first.

The Parent Trap

Although the 1998 version of The Parent Trap is a remake of the 1961 comedy of the same name, it’s a little more modern and approachable. That makes the story about twins separated at birth who reunite and try to bring their parents back together a little easier to get into for kids.

Hocus Pocus

Walt Disney Pictures/YouTube

Teenagers could probably appreciate Hocus Pocus and it’s non-horror Halloween elements, but kids will likely enjoy watching the Sanderson sisters come to life just a tad more. It also has a few minimal jump scares that make it a perfect first “scary” movie for little ones.

The Addams Family

The Addams Family is another scary movie that isn’t actually scary, but might be for younger kids. It’s all about the morbidly funny Addams family who are faced with protecting their family’s fortune when Uncle Fester arrives home after decades away, brainwashed will ill intentions.

Childhood only lasts so long. There are plenty of things you can do with your kids when they become teenagers, but catching them on a day when they are agreeable enough to want to hang out with you can be rare. Before your baby-faced kids turn into full-fledged teenagers, take the time to make them watch these movies and relive your own childhood by watching along with your kids.