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16 Inspiring Movies To Watch With Children

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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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                                  Last Updated on October 7, 2021

                                  Why Spending Time With Your Family Is Important (And How To Do So)

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                                  Why Spending Time With Your Family Is Important (And How To Do So)

                                  In today’s chaotic world, having family time isn’t always easy. It can get pretty hard to coordinate schedules, especially if the family is large. Life demands that we work, attend school, nurture friendships, hobbies, etc. All of those things are extremely time-consuming and important—but so is spending time with your family.

                                  Why is family time so important? Because we all need love and support, and a good, strong family can provide that regularly. For children, spending time with their family helps shape them into good, responsible adults, improve their mental health, and develop strong core values.

                                  There are many positive effects of spending time with your family. My family and I, for instance (and this includes grandchildren as well), meet every Tuesday night for dinner and games. My older son and I take turns cooking. This gives all of us a chance to try some new recipes. After dinner, we play games. And without fail, they inspire competitiveness and laughter. As family night has evolved, the grandkids have invited their friends over as well, creating the need for more chairs but also expanding our circle of fun.

                                  Aside from the obvious fun and games, there are other reasons why spending time with your family is paramount. In this article, I will provide you with multiple reasons why spending time with your family regularly is a win-win. And then, I will lay out some ways on how to do it.

                                  Let’s get started, shall we?

                                  Why Spending Time With Your Family Is Important

                                  Here are six reasons why it’s important to spend time with your family.

                                  1. Provides the Opportunity to Bond

                                  When you spend time together as a family—talking about your day, your highs, your lows—it fosters communication. As parents, it gives you the chance to listen to your children, to hear them out, to learn about what’s going on in their world. It also provides you with the opportunity to use life situations as teaching moments.

                                  Before our Tuesday night dinner/game nights, my family used to see each other pretty regularly but not consistently, especially the grandkids. Our family night changed all that. Now, it’s guaranteed that the grandchildren, along with some of their friends, will be there. Not only do I get to find out what’s been happening in their lives, but they also get to know us better. It’s creating memories they can treasure forever, as well as modeling the Get-Together tradition for when they eventually have families of their own.

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                                  “Spending time partaking in everyday family leisure activities has been associated with greater emotional bonding within families.”[1]

                                  2. Teaches the Value of Family

                                  Taking the time to be with your family lets your children know they are valued—that spending time together is a priority. I know that in today’s world, both parents are busy as both usually working. What better way to let your children know they are loved than by carving out time each week to spend with them?

                                  According to Marilyn Price-Mitchell, Ph.D., “words like honesty, trust, fairness, respect, responsibility, and courage are core to centuries of religious, philosophical, and family beliefs. Use them and others to express and reinforce your family values. Teach children the behaviors that flow from these principles. Use quotes to ignite meaningful dinner conversations and encourage kids to talk about these values.”[2]

                                  3. Enhances Mental Well-Being

                                  Spending that quality time together gives your children a safe platform in which to express themselves, ask questions about things that are bothering them, or talk about their day and things they’ve learned. I know that my 9-year old granddaughter can’t wait until it’s her turn to talk about her day. She usually goes on and on and has to be stopped to give everyone else a chance to talk about their goings-on.

                                  “Research shows the quality of family relationships is more important than their size or composition. Whoever the family is made up of, they can build strong, positive relationships that promote wellbeing and support children and young people’s mental health.”[3]

                                  For children, having the opportunity to seek advice from parents they trust—as well as being able to have a sounding board and help with problem-solving—is priceless. In addition, being able to voice their opinions and be heard—and to feel like what they have to say matters—is an esteem-builder. All of these can have a very impactful positive effect on their well-being.

                                  4. Helps the Child Feel Loved

                                  How do you think a child feels knowing their parents want to spend time with them—talking, sharing experiences, playing games, listening to them? It will make them feel as though they are important, and a child that feels important is happier and more apt to thrive. Setting aside chores or work to spend time with your children demonstrates that they’re essential—that they matter. What a gift to give your child!

                                  “If a child has your undivided attention, it signals that they are loved and important to you. This can be further nurtured by experiencing joyful activities together, as it demonstrates that you want to spend time with your children over and above all of the daily demands.”[4]

                                  5. Creates a Safe Environment

                                  If you regularly spend time with your children, you are also creating an atmosphere of trust. The more trust they have, the more likely they are to share with you what’s going on in their world. As they get older, you’re going to want to know. Negative influences can show up at any time, but if you’ve always been there for your child, they are more apt to come to you and ask for your advice.

                                  Spending time together generates familiarity and feelings of being supported. When a child feels safe and comfortable, they’re more likely to open up. This is one way to get to know your child and know what’s on their minds. Are they okay? Do they need your guidance? If so, how?

                                  6. Reduces Stress

                                  This is significant. We all suffer from stress at one point or another in our lives. Spending time with family helps alleviate that stress. It’s an opportunity to talk things out, get feedback, and maybe brainstorm for a solution to the problem that is causing the stress.

                                  According to Brandy Drzymkowski, “During the holidays, your closest five people probably shifts to family and friends. You may even get to see loved ones who live far away. Good news! This can actually help lower your stress levels. Studies show ‘face-to-face interaction…counteracts the body’s defensive ‘fight-or-flight’ response.’ In other words, quality time spent with loved ones is nature’s stress reliever.”[5]

                                  So, now that you know some of the benefits, what are some ideas for making family time happen?

                                  How to Make Family Time Happen

                                  Here are four things you can do to make family time happen and spend more time with them.

                                  1. Family Dinners

                                  This, as I said above, is a wonderful way to spend time together. While you’re having dinner, you have the chance to discuss things that are going on in your lives—the ups, the downs, and everywhere in between. It’s like having a buffer against life’s challenges.

                                  Aside from that, eating dinner together has many additional benefits. Studies have shown that for kids who eat regularly with their families, there is less risk of substance abuse, teen pregnancy, and depression.[6]

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                                  “Our belief in the ‘magic’ of family dinners is grounded in research on the physical, mental and emotional benefits of regular family meals.” It further states, “We recommend combining food, fun and conversation at mealtimes because those three ingredients are the recipe for a warm, positive family dinner—the type of environment that makes these scientifically proven benefits possible.”[7]

                                  According to Parenting NI, “children and adolescents who spend more time with their parents are less likely to get involved in risky behavior. According to studies done by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse via Arizona State University, teens who have infrequent family dinners are twice as likely to use tobacco, nearly twice as likely to use alcohol and one and a half times more likely to use marijuana.”[8]

                                  As you can see, there are multiple benefits to spending time with each other routinely. You can’t go wrong with this family activity.

                                  2.  Regular Movie Nights

                                  This is another fun event, although, from personal experience, I have to caution that choosing a movie that everyone wants to see is not easy. So, give yourselves plenty of time so you don’t spend two hours searching for a movie, and then end up watching no movie at all because the night is practically over. Try and choose a movie before the day, if possible.

                                  Afterward, open it up for discussion. Ask questions pertinent to the movie. What do you think of ABC? Should they have done that? Would you have done something differently? There are so many questions you can ask to spark a conversation and keep the night going.

                                  3. Game Night

                                  This is another occasion for great fun. If you have a competitive spirit, it makes it even more fun. There are numerous games out there—Balderdash, Pictionary, Apples to Apples, Charades, to name a few—that can create fun havoc. All I can say is, on game nights, don’t take yourself too seriously. It’s okay if you lose the game. The fun is in being together, laughing, debating, and having a good time.

                                  In addition, “Playing board games is great for children for many reasons besides the obvious; it’s fun to play games! Age appropriate games can help children to think strategically, solve problems creatively, work on pattern recognition and build simple math skills. They also help children develop social skills such as following rules, taking turns, and graceful winning or losing. Additionally, a family game night provides an opportunity for children to bond with siblings, parents and family members as well as peers. It can promote tradition building and establish a fun routine.”[9]

                                  So, go find your family a game and start having fun!

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                                  4. Sharing a Hobby

                                  If you and one of your kids like to do the same things, do it more often. For example, my oldest son and his teenage son go on long bike rides together on the weekends. Not only do they get to exercise, but they also get to talk and look at beautiful sceneries. They’ve also incorporated cooking into their routine. They plan the meal, shop, and prepare—activities that bring them closer together.

                                  Sharing a hobby is a great way to bring family members together. It bonds people in amazing ways. According to Alison Ratner Mayer, LICSW, “One of the easiest and most important ways to build a child’s self-esteem is to spend time with them doing something not only that they enjoy but something that you also enjoy. There is a special magic that happens between a parent and a child when they share a mutually beloved activity. It sends the message to the child that their parents are having fun, true, honest, real fun, with them.”[10]

                                  Final Thoughts

                                  Spending time with the family is an investment. It is an investment in the happiness, well-being, and security of that system. It can also serve as a way to break out of the daily rut and the constant worldly demands, while at the same time, building a strong family unit.

                                  Even though it isn’t always easy to find the time, finding the time is key to staying close and to providing and receiving love and support. There is no greater gift than the gift of time. That’s what we all seem to be missing nowadays. So, in giving that gift consistently, everyone feels loved and appreciated.

                                  The family that takes the time to interact regularly is typically happy. They know they are part of a tribe, and that’s essential in today’s chaotic world. To know that there are people whom you can count on—people who will have your back in times of need—is invaluable.

                                  Now, go and plan something plan with your family, if you haven’t already.

                                  Featured photo credit: Jimmy Dean via unsplash.com

                                  Reference

                                  [1] Pittsburgh Parent: Spending Time Together—Benefits of Family Time
                                  [2] Roots of Action: Integrity: How Families Teach and Live Their Values
                                  [3] Beyond Blue: Healthy Families
                                  [4] Esperance Anglican Community School: The importance of family time
                                  [5] Brandy Drzymkowski: Spending Time With Loved Ones Reduces Stress
                                  [6] Harvard Graduate School of Education: Harvard EdCast: The Benefit of Family Mealtime
                                  [7] The Family Dinner Project: BENEFITS OF FAMILY DINNERS
                                  [8] Parenting NI: The Importance of Spending Time Together
                                  [9] WNY Children: Family Game Night- The Benefits of Game Play
                                  [10] Child Therapy Boston: The Benefits of Sharing a Hobby With Your Child

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