NEWS

Favorite Family Sick Day Movies

Parent holds sick child while watching TV

Verywell / Photo Illustration by Amelia Manley / Getty Images

It's no secret germs are everywhere. Colds, the flu, COVID-19, and other illnesses are forcing entire families to the couch or their beds to recover. Kids are missing school and parents are missing work, and those sick days can be tough. Curling up with a warm blanket and a good movie can help provide some comfort and pass the time until everyone is healthy again.

In a recent survey of 2,000 millennial parents, most said they prefer to watch old favorites rather than dive into a new movie when they're sick. According to the results, the most popular films for parents to watch when they're home with their kids are the "Harry Potter" and "Toy Story" franchises. Both tied with 32% of the vote. Other favorites include "Frozen," "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," and "Moana." The survey was conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Delsym.

The Verywell Family and Verywell Fit teams put our minds together to come up with some great sick-day movie recommendations. Some of us enjoy watching these comfort films with our own children, while others recall our own sick days on the couch as kids. Hopefully, our favorites will soon become yours!

Favorite Sick Day Movies to Watch With Your Kids 

My daughters' tastes have certainly changed over the years, but when it comes to sick-day movies they go right back to when they were younger. Disney is a favorite in our house. Even at age 13, Sydney's go-to movie is "Frozen." She says it's very cute and easy to watch because you don't have to think too much. Plus, she loves Olaf.

For Clare, age 10, it's "The Little Mermaid." She says it's one of her favorite movies and reminds her of being a little kid. Both are definitely favorites of mine as well. But we could always put "Hamilton" on and sing along!

Now for everyone else's recommendations:

Beauty and the Beast

Now that I have a toddler, she loves watching Disney movies. "Beauty and the Beast" is one of our family favorites. I watched it growing up in the '90s, and it's amazing that kids still love it today. My 3-year-old refers to the song "Beauty & the Beast" as the "turning song," in reference to how the Beast twirls Belle around. Also, my husband can recite almost every word of most songs!

— Lauren Levinson, Editorial Director, Verywell Family

Encanto, Moana, and High School Musical

Even though the "Encanto" craze has somewhat subsided, we still don't talk about Bruno in our house! My 5-year-old daughter loves singing along to the songs, and I never get tired of hearing them.

I went through a big "High School Musical" phase when I was younger, so it's fun to enjoy this movie with my daughter now. Once a Wildcat, always a Wildcat! 

"Moana" was one of the first movies my daughter ever watched, and I love the themes of identity, growth, and family within the story. As a bonus, the music is amazing!

— De Elizabeth, Editor, Verywell Family

Stream Your Favorite TV Series

I've never really done sick day movies with my kids; we've always been more of a TV series family. When they were little, we would watch their favorite cartoons. "Sofia the First" and "Scooby-Doo" spinoffs were their favorites. Now that they are older, we're into sitcoms. "Modern Family" is our go-to because it makes us all laugh.

— Hildara Araya, Commerce Editor, VerywellFamily

Remembering Our Own Favorite Sick Day Movies

Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey

This is a comfort movie for me as it has a little bit of everything—humor, adventure, and a heartwarming tale of chosen family. It satisfies the sense of nostalgia we all yearn for on true sick days and reminds me of staying home from grammar school back in the early '90s.

— Emily Rose, General Manager, Verywell Family and Parents

The Princess Bride

When I was a kid, I watched "The Princess Bride" one sick day. It was the perfect movie—at moments heartwarming, thrilling, sad, and sweet. I still distinctly remember laying on the couch in my parents' house enthralled by Buttercup and Westly, Inigo and Fezzik, and the rest of the incredibly talented cast. Their adventures swept me out of my (very stuffed-up) head and into a world of fantasy. Since then, I've popped it on whenever I need a bit of a pick-me-up.

Riyana Straetker, Senior Editor, Verywell Family

Balto and Brother Bear

My comfort movies when I was a kid were "Balto" and "Brother Bear." Both have animals as the main characters, and both movies have a lot of heart and humor. In fact, I loved Balto so much as a child that one of my biggest bucket list items was to see the Balto statue in Central Park. Thanks to my parents, I was able to achieve that dream when I was 11 years old! Have tissues handy when you sit down to watch these picks, but you're guaranteed to come out of the viewing experience with a big smile on your face.

— McKenzie Pendergrass, Social Media Editor, Verywell Family and Verywell Mind

The NeverEnding Story and The Parent Trap

I think I first stumbled upon "The Never Ending Story" when it happened to be on TV, and it somehow evolved into a sick day staple. I still dream of finding my own Falkor to ride on!

When it comes to "The Parent Trap" (the Lindsay Lohan version, of course), I will admittedly root for Meredith Blake as an adult, but this was definitely a go-to movie when I was home sick from school! 

— De Elizabeth, Editor, Verywell Family

Fantasia and Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland

I have distinct, feverish memories of watching "Fantasia" and "Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland" on a plush bed of blankets and pillows my mom made for me as a kid. These weird, fantastical movies continue to terrify me today. There's something about rewinding the VHS tape over and over again that is so different than clicking automatically on Prime. And, god forbid a sick child today has to sit through a commercial! I know my daughter is really not feeling well when she doesn't complain about commercials or pop-ups. I'd also recommend old favorites like "The Sandlot" and "The Goonies."

— Eliza Savage, Associate Editorial Director, Verywell Fit

The Sound of Music and The Princess Diaries

My sick day go-to movies feature one key leading lady: our matron saint, Julie Andrews. Give me "The Sound of Music" or "The Princess Diaries" and I’ll feel cozy and at peace. I could easily recite both of those cinematic masterpieces, but watching them play out on my screen gives me sentimental satisfaction (and doesn’t make me feel guilty if I snooze on and off). I’m convinced Queen Julie has healing powers.

— Lily Moe, Editor, Verywell Fit

2 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Westerlind E, Palstam A, Sunnerhagen KS, Persson HC. Patterns and predictors of sick leave after Covid-19 and long Covid in a national Swedish cohortBMC Public Health. 2021;21(1):1023. doi:10.1186/s12889-021-11013-2

  2. Talker Research. What's the best kind of movie to watch when you're sick?.

By Sari Hitchins
Sari has 20+ years of experience as a TV News Producer for MSNBC, News 12, and CBS3 in Philadelphia. As a mother of two girls, Sari is dedicated to using her news judgment to bring Verywell Family readers the critical information they need to know.