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16 Inspiring Movies To Watch With Children

16 Inspiring Movies To Watch With Children

These hit movies all have powerful messages that teach children how to make good choices, how to find their moral compass, and how to do and be the very best they can. It’s nice to know that companies like Disney and Pixar are sending the same messages we want our children to hear. And we all know that kids hear it better when it doesn’t come from mom or from dad. Enjoy watching these movies together.

Mulan:  Never give up.

Mulan is a young maiden who learns that her  father is to be called up into the army. Knowing that he would never survive the rigors of war in his state, she decides to disguise herself and join in his place.

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    “The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.”

    The Lion King: Learn from your mistakes.

    A young heir to the throne learns to balance responsibility with fun through the trial and error and makes some wonderful friends along the way.

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      “Oh yes, the past can hurt. But from the way I see it, you can either run from it, or… learn from it.”

       Cinderella: Patience is a virtue

      After her father unexpectedly dies, young Ella finds herself at the mercy of her cruel stepmother Despite her circumstances, she refuses to despair. An invitation to a palace ball gives Ella hope that she might reunite with the dashing stranger  she met in the woods, but her stepmother prevents her from going. Help arrives in the form of a kindly beggar woman who has a magic touch for ordinary things.

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        “Even miracles take a little time.”

        Aladdin: Don’t judge a book by its cover.

        Aladdin is a street-urchin who lives in a large and busy town long ago with his faithful monkey friend Abu. When Princess Jasmine gets tired of being forced to remain in the palace, she sneaks out and accidentally meets Aladdin.  Aladdin is thrown in jail and becomes caught up in Jafar’s plot to rule the land with the aid of a mysterious lamp. Legend has it that only a person who is a “diamond in the rough” can retrieve the lamp from the Cave of Wonders. Aladdin might fit that description.

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          “Do not be fooled by its commonplace appearance. Like so many things, it is not what outside, but what is inside that counts.”

          Lilo and Stitch: We take care of one another.

          Experiment 626 is banned from his own planet and accidentally ends up on earth where he is adopted by 2 sisters who have lost their parents. Learning that family is in your heart not your genes is only part of this touching but humorous film.

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            “Ohana means family, family means nobody gets left behind.”

            Finding Nemo: Don’t get stuck in the past- keep moving forward.

            A single Dad clown fish loses his son, Nemo when he ventures into the open sea. Nemo is caught by a diver and sent to a dentist’s office in Sydney. While Nemo’s father ventures off to try to retrieve his son hen meets a fish named Dory, suffering from short-term memory loss. The companions travel a great distance, encountering various dangerous sea creatures in order to rescue Nemo from the dentist’s office,

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              “When life gets you down do you wanna know what you’ve gotta do? Just keep swimming!”

              Ratatouille: It’s not where you came from that matters, it’s where you are going.

              A rat named Remy dreams of becoming a great French chef despite his family’s wishes. Despite the apparent dangers of being an unlikely – and certainly unwanted – visitor in the kitchen of a fine French restaurant, Remy’s passion for cooking soon sets into motion a hilarious and exciting rat race that turns the culinary world of Paris upside down.

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                “You must not let anyone define your limits because of where you come from. Your only limit is your soul.”

                Pinocchio: Trust your own judgement.

                Gepetto creates a wooden marionette called Pinocchio. A fairy grants his wish for Pinocchio to be a real boy. The fairy assigns Jiminy Cricket to act as Pinocchio’s “conscience” and keep him out of trouble. Jiminy is not too successful in this.

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                  “Always let your conscience be your guide.”

                  The Incredibles: Be present.

                  Mr. Incredible and his wife were the world’s greatest  crime-fighting superheroes fifteen years ago.  Today they have been forced to adopt civilian identities and retreat to the suburbs where live a “normal life” with their three children Violet, Dash and Jack-Jack (who were secretly born with superpowers). Itching to get back into action, Bob gets his chance when a mysterious communication summons him to a remote island for a top secret assignment.

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                    “I never look back darling, it distracts from the now.”

                    Wreck-It-Ralph: Love yourself

                    Wreck-It Ralph longs to be as beloved as his game’s perfect Good Guy, Fix-It Felix. Problem is, nobody loves a Bad Guy.Ralph sees a chance to be a hero. He sneaks into a game with a simple plan — win a medal — but soon wrecks everything, and accidentally unleashes a deadly enemy that threatens every game in the arcade.But will he realize he is good enough to become a hero before it’s “Game Over” for the entire arcade?

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                      “There’s no one I’d rather be than me.”

                      Phineas & Ferb– The only limits are the limits of your imagination

                      Perry’s dual life as a secret agent is discovered but when the brother’s and their friends team up to help Perry, no problem is too big to solve.

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                        “The only thing that is impossible is impossibility.”

                        Kung Fu Panda– Stress and fear make tasks more difficult to accomplish

                        LA lazy panda, named Po, who is the biggest fan of Kung Fu around is unexpectedly chosen to fulfill an ancient prophecy, Po’s dreams become reality when he joins the world of Kung Fu and studies alongside his idols. Po puts his heart – and his girth – into the task, and the unlikely hero ultimately finds that his greatest weaknesses turn out to be his greatest strengths.

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                          “Anything is possible when you have inner peace.”

                          Turbo– If you believe it, you can achieve it.

                          Turbo is a snail who dares to dream big – and fast. An accident infuses him with the power of super-speed, Turbo kicks things up a gear and heads on an extraordinary journey. With the help of his streetwise snail crew, this ultimate underdog puts his heart and shell on the line to prove that no dream is too big, and no dreamer too small.

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                            “No dream is too big and no dreamer is too small.”

                             The Land Before Time– Take time each day to listen to your inner voice.

                            When Littlefoot is separated from his mother during an earthshake he finds four unlikely friends who overcome many obstacles together to find his grandparents and the green valley.

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                              “Let your heart guide you. It whispers so listen closely.”

                              Wall-E– Do what you need to to feel truly happy.

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                                “I don’t want to survive, I want to live.”

                                Shrek– There’s more to a person than what you see on the surface.

                                When a green ogre named Shrek discovers his swamp has been taken over by fairytale creatures of the scheming Lord Farquaad, Shrek sets out, with an unlikely friend, Donkey, to convince Farquaad to give his swamp back.  Farquaad  sends Shrek to rescue Princess Fiona, who is waiting for her one true love. Fiona is keeping something secret and maybe the Prince and the ogre have good and bad all confused.

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                                  “Ogres are like onions. Onions have layers.”

                                  If you have other powerful messages and quotes, from your favorite inspiring movies, I’d love to hear them. Please share and add your personal suggestions.

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                                  Published on September 21, 2020

                                  The Danger of Overscheduling Your Kids

                                  The Danger of Overscheduling Your Kids

                                  I am a parent of three children aged 8, 6, and 6. Like many parents, I struggle with knowing the right balance of activities for them. I don’t want my kids to miss out on opportunities to play sports and participate in activities that will enhance their lives and help them grow as individuals. However, I also don’t want them to become overscheduled kids, to the extent that they get worn out and stressed out.

                                  There is a balance in providing activities for our children and overscheduling them. The tendency for the latter is prevalent these days. Our lives — and the lives of our kids — are increasingly overscheduled and overworked. Thus, we need to understand the dangers of having overscheduled kids and how to prevent this from happening in our own families.

                                  What’s Wrong with Overscheduling Your Kids?

                                  1. Overscheduling Can Burn Out Our Kids

                                  When our kids are on the go and scheduled to the max from a young age, their potential to get burned out before reaching high school is quite high. The New York Times reported some research on burnout and found that burnout with kids relates to their workload, along with their parents’ propensity to experience it.[1] This means that overworked children are more likely to get burned out than others. Similarly, overscheduled parents tend to have overscheduled kids more often than not.

                                  Burnout

                                  When a person is burned out, they feel overwhelmed and exhausted by what others expect them to get done daily. Children who are involved in too many activities with little to no downtime have a high chance of experiencing burnout. When parents place too many expectations on their kids, they also have an increased potential to burn out.

                                  If you get the sense that your child is feeling overworked or overwhelmed by their daily activities, you need to know which ones can be cut back. If they have too many activities outside of school work, for instance, then that is one area that likely needs to be downsized.

                                  An overworked child will present various symptoms like moodiness, irritability, crankiness, despondency, anger, stomach aches, headaches, rebellion, etc. Cutting back their activities will help to relieve their stress and reduce the said burnout signs. If your kid has severe burnout symptoms, though, then professional help from a pediatrician or therapist for children should be sought.

                                  Downtime

                                  Downtime is key to helping relieve burnout. If children don’t have free time during the day to have any rest, they are more likely to become burned out than others. Downtime means unorganized free time to do what they enjoy or relax. Cut back your kids’ extra-curricular activities if they don’t have downtime in their schedule.

                                  Here are more tips on creating downtime for the children: How to Create Downtime for Kids.

                                  2. Overscheduling Kills Playtime and Creativity

                                  Kids need time to be kids. When their schedules are filled every day with activities like organized ballet, soccer, and music lessons, and they only take a break for dinner and bedtime, then they are overscheduled. They need to have free time after school to relax and play. When they don’t have that and proceed from one scheduled activity to the next, they are missing out on playtime.

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                                  Playtime is crucial to child development. If they cannot get enough time to play, then their ability to develop their creativity decreases. The Genius of Play explains that there are six major developmental benefits that children get from playtime:[2]

                                  • Creativity
                                  • Social skill development
                                  • Cognitive development
                                  • Physical development (i.e., balance, coordination)
                                  • Communication skills
                                  • Emotional development

                                  If children don’t have time to play because they are always on-the-go, then they are missing out on the developmental benefits of play.

                                  Children need downtime after school so that they can unwind, play, and decompress. Research from the Journal of Early Childhood Development and Care showed that kids need to play to deal with anxiety, stress, and worry.[3] Playtime provides an outlet for them to manage these emotions in a healthy manner and helps with the development of their creativity.

                                  Children need free time to play every day. Fifteen minutes at recess is not enough. They need time for it after school, at home, outside of the constraints of scheduled activities.

                                  Solution

                                  Ensure that your child has time to play after school. This is especially important for young children who greatly benefit from playing. Limit organized activities so that your child is not scheduled every day and can play after school. If they have an activity every hour, then it doesn’t allow for playtime.

                                  3. Overscheduling Causes Stress and Pressure

                                  When kids are overscheduled because their parents are so intent on having high-performing children, then they will feel stressed. Parental pressure upon a child to do well in academics, music, multiple sports, and religious studies is a reality for many kids. The children scheduled in all of these activities can often feel stress and pressure, especially when they are expected to succeed in all of them.

                                  It is hard enough for kids to be good or succeed at a single activity. For a parent to overschedule their child and expect superior performance in various activities, that is a recipe for a stressed-out child.

                                  Solution

                                  Parents should not schedule kids in multiple activities with the expectation of superior performance in all. They should also consider the child’s interests. If the child is not interested in one activity, then they are likely to feel stressed and pressured to do it.

                                  For example, if Suzy has been taking piano lessons for four years, and she no longer enjoys learning the instrument, then perhaps it is time to take a break. If Suzy is forced to continue with the lessons and daily practices, then she may feel pressured to continue performing simply because her mom wants her to do so. This can lead Suzy to resent her mother for forcing her to keep on doing something that she doesn’t like anymore.

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                                  Let your child help in selecting the activities that they get involved in. Also, put a cap on the number of activities they are doing. If they have a different activity every weekday, then they are likely overscheduled.

                                  Kids need downtime and time to play, too. If they need to do a new activity every day, that downtime is diminished, considering the time at home or outside of the scheduled activities is limited. This limited time is then filled with homework, mealtime, and bedtime prep. Eliminating activities several days a week will allow the child to have some time to play freely. The younger the kid is, the more time they need playtime. As they get older, they can take on more activities; however, under the age of 13, playing daily is a must for children.

                                  4. Healthy Eating Falls by the Wayside

                                  Any parent who’s busy chauffeuring multiple kids to different activities after school knows how tempting fast food can become. Fast food, however, leads to less healthy food choices. French fries and hamburgers — the staple combo in most fast-food joints — cannot help your child thrive nutritionally.

                                  When families are overscheduled, they tend to go for easy and quick meals. When rushed, many of us make poor food choices because we aren’t taking the time to think about a meal’s nutritional value and a balanced diet for our children.

                                  5. Family Mealtimes Become a Thing of the Past

                                  When we are taking our kids to sports and other extra-curricular activities that fall during dinnertime, the family often misses out on sharing a meal at home.

                                  This is true in our own home. There are certain nights of the week that we have practices, and so we either eat together early (if possible) or eat separately, depending on what our schedules allow.

                                  There is so much value in having family dinners. It provides an opportunity for family members to discuss their day, including their work and school activities. It is a time when technology is set aside so that everyone can truly focus on communicating with one another and catching up on what is happening in each other’s lives. When a kid’s activities are scheduled every evening, then that family time at the dining table gets lost. Dinnertime becomes a thing of the past as we overschedule kids and ourselves.

                                  Try learning more about family time here: How to Maximize Family Time? 13 Simple Ways You Can Try Immediately.

                                  Solution

                                  Assess our schedule during the week to ensure that there’s always time for dinner with the family. Make it a point to establish a dinnertime schedule for the evenings that you do not have prior engagements scheduled. Remember: the time that you have with your kids under your roof is fleeting. Before long, they will be grownups and start living on their own. You need not dismiss or minimize the opportunity to bond with your children over meals.

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                                  Having family mealtimes also allows you to make excellent food choices. This way, parents can create balanced and healthy meals and teach their children about the importance of eating good food for their bodies.

                                  How to Turn Things Around?

                                  1. Fix the Displaced Ambitions

                                  Parents with overscheduled kids often mean well. They want their children to succeed, so they give them every chance to make it happen. They sign them up for various lessons, sports, and activities that may help the kids find success in life.

                                  In other cases, the parent probably didn’t get such opportunities when they were young and felt that they missed out on many things. Hence, they provide those missed opportunities to their kids during their own childhood.

                                  Carla is an example of such a parent. Carla always wanted to take dance and ballet classes as a child. She heard her friends talk about dance classes and performances, and they would even bring recital photos to school, showing their beautiful, detailed costumes. Carla wanted to be in those dance classes and learn ballet and have the opportunity to perform in a beautiful costume in front of an audience. Unfortunately, her family could not afford to give her that opportunity.

                                  When Carla gave birth to a baby girl, she had visions of her little one growing big enough to take dance, ballet, and even tap classes someday. She was looking forward to dressing her daughter in dance costumes and watching her take lessons and eventually performing in recitals. When Carla’s daughter Anna was old enough to enroll at a dance class at four years old, she was thrilled. However, after a few months, it became clear that Anna was not enjoying these classes. She would cry before every lesson, begging Carla to let her stay home and not go to class. Her daughter had no interest in learning to dance.

                                  In truth, it happens to many parents. They would enroll their kid in an activity that they wanted to do as a child but never got to try. Unfortunately, a parent’s interest is not always the same as that of their kids’. The child may humor mom or dad for some time and do the activity out of compliance. But if the child does not enjoy it anymore, they will eventually make things clear to their parents.

                                  Parents should listen to their children. If the activity is something that they do not enjoy doing, ask the children what they think they would like to do, and then eliminate activities that they are not into. Similarly, teach them commitment by finishing a program, but don’t enroll them again in the same class if they absolutely do not want to do it.

                                  Let the kids try different activities at a young age. Sometimes they don’t know if they like something until they try it out.

                                  2. Try Clinics of Camps Before Committing

                                  Don’t enroll your child in three sports at the same time to see which one they like or excel at. Doing so will make your kid overscheduled. Instead, you can use the summer break or preseason camps or clinics to try a variety of activities they are interested in.

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                                  As an example, all three of my children said that they wanted to do lacrosse. We had already tried soccer, and it was not successful for two out of three of them. They would rather chase butterflies down the field or play tag than actually participate in their games. Therefore, before committing to lacrosse and spending a great deal of money on their gear, I signed them up for a sample clinic. It was a one-day program that intended to expose children to the sport and see if they would perhaps enjoy playing it. I was surprised to find that the three kids enjoyed lacrosse, so we signed up for the season. It was nice to be able to see them try out the sport in a clinic before committing to an entire season.

                                  Most towns and cities have parks and recreation department. This is often a good place to check for clinics and camps for various activities. Our local department even offers art and dance classes. Most of them meet between two and four times total, so the children can get some exposure to the activity before signing them up at a private facility for a more long-term commitment.

                                  3. Take an Inventory of Your Weekly Activities

                                  Often, we do an activity without reflecting on how much we are already committed to doing each week. Before we commit to any more activities, we must be willing to look at everything that each family member does. Every child’s commitment is another responsibility for the parent as well. Parents must take children to and from each practice, so you need to consider the drive time for any activity.

                                  For instance, if each of my three kids signed up for three different activities each week, I would be running myself ragged. Three activities for three kids means taking them to nine activities during the week. That doesn’t include the games that will likely be scheduled on the weekends. Three activities for every child, therefore, is too much for our family.

                                  If some practices overlap on the schedule, then you need two parents or responsible adults to transport the children to different locations. Before you sign them up for multiple activities, you need to factor downtime, stress levels, and your ability to take them to each activity in the equation.

                                  Consider the following before your kids can commit to various activities:

                                  • What is the time commitment for the child each week? Do they have enough energy and stamina for the activities? Do they get enough downtime daily to prevent burnout?
                                  • Is practice time required outside of their scheduled team practices and games?
                                  • How long is the travel time for you as a parent, along with wait time during practices? Do you have time allowances for these activities in your own schedule?
                                  • Does the activity time conflict with other activities on the schedule? Will it eliminate family dinners on a regular basis?
                                  • Does the child really want to do the activity?
                                  • What is the motivation for signing up for the activity?
                                  • Is this activity or commitment going to cause a great deal of stress on the child or other family members?

                                  Check out these time-management tips for parents: 10 Time Management Tips Every Busy Parent Needs to Know.

                                  Get The Kids Active and Involved!

                                  Despite everything, it does not mean that you shouldn’t sign your child up for different activities like sports, music, dance, karate, etc. They are all great activities that can help children develop a variety of valuable life skills. The goal is to enroll them in things that they genuinely enjoy and avoid overscheduling kids by not letting them sign up for too many activities at a time.

                                  More Tips for Scheduling Kids’ Activities

                                  Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

                                  Reference

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