Deciding what movie to take your kids to can be overwhelming. The sheer amount of blockbuster films, cartoons and animations can make any parent wonder what the most appropriate movie is to watch with their children. The impressionable nature of kids can mean that exposing them to negative teachings could result in picking up bad habits from a young age.
Think that’s an exaggeration? It’s been scientifically proven that what children watch, especially with films and TV, has a strong ability to influence and shape their minds. The power of persuasion was discussed in an article by Dr. Jeremy Dean who commented that “stories work so well to persuade us because if they’re well told, we get swept up in them, and we are transported inside them.”
This can work in both a negative and positive way. If parents can be strategic in what movies they select for their kids and then utilise the impressionable window of time after the film has finished to discuss the story line and valuable character traits, children will be more open to learn, understand and make positive connections.
With this in mind, here are 5 movies that will give you the opportunity to help you teach children valuable life lessons.
1. Frozen (2013)
Frozen tell the story of fearless optimist Anna who teams up with rugged mountain man Kristoff and his loyal reindeer Sven in an epic journey to find Anna’s sister. This child-like comedy sees the characters encountering Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman named Olaf.
Lessons Learned: This is a wonderful story about sibling love rather than the traditional ‘man saves the day’ movie. It shows the importance of family bonds with strong character traits of kindness, love and self-worth.
Get Frozen on iTunes.
2. Brave (2012)
Princess Merida is betrothed to a prince but wants to be anything but a “princess”. Instead she longs to be free, climb her favourite mountain, and use her archery skills. She attempts to run away and be “herself” and learns some lessons along the way.
This is a story of a girl determined to make her own path in life and break the stereotypical idea of a princess. Her defiance of tradition means relying on her bravery and archery skills to beat an evil curse. This movie is a great example for both boys and girls that shows the ideas of self-love, bravery and grit.
Get Brave on iTunes.
3. Charlotte’s Webb (2006)
This film tells of a unique friendship between a pig called Wilbur and a spider named Charlotte. The unlikely pair come together after Wilbur’s life becomes endangered and Charlotte helps create a plan to save him.
This movie is a intricate example of friendship and self-love with the characters displaying a strong sense of kindness, self-worth and love that children can learn from.
Get Charlotte’s Web in iTunes.
4. Moana (2016)
Based on stories from Polynesian mythology, this animation tells the story of Moana Waialiki. Daughter of a chief and expert navigator of the seas, Moana island experiences failing crops and local fisherman are no longer able to catch fish. She learns that the demigod Maui caused the blight by stealing the heart of the goddess, Te Fiti and the only way to heal the island is to persuade Maui to return Te Fiti’s heart. Moana then sets off on an epic journey across the Pacific.
This is a tale of a girl overcoming impossible odds and discovering herself in the process. It teaches children the rewards of perseverance and the importance of knowing their identity. This is especially wonderful for the empowerment of girls as well as courage, curiosity and sticking to your goals.
Get Moana on iTunes.
5. Finding Nemo (2003)
Nemo, a clown fish, gets lost one day despite his father Marlin’s warning of the dangers of the sea. Nemo subsequently gets abducted by a boat and netted up to be sent to an office fish tank in Sydney. Marlin starts his journey to try and find Nemo encountering many characters along the way including a forgetful blue tang fish called Dory. The two travel a great distance, encountering dangerous situations in pursuit of Nemo. Meanwhile, Nemo along with the other captured sea animals in the fish tank, plot a way to return to Sydney Harbour to live their lives free again.
This is a tale of survival but ultimately one of love. The characters show a wonderful example of perseverance, compassion and courage teaching children the importance of love and to never give up.
Get Finding Nemo on iTunes.
So, next time you sit down with your kids to watch a film, choose one that explains an important life lesson. Use this time to have a conversation and allow children to understand what they have been watching and how they can connect this with their own life. It’s possible to make movie-watching fun and educational at the same time!