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Last Updated on December 17, 2020

Want To Raise Good Kids? Here Are 5 movies That Will Help You Out

Want To Raise Good Kids? Here Are 5 movies That Will Help You Out

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.[1]

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)

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    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.

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      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.

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        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.

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          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!

            Reference

            [1] http://www.spring.org.uk/2012/01/why-stories-sell-transportation-leads-to-persuasion.php

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            Anna Chui

            Anna is the Chief Editor and Content Strategist of Lifehack. She's also a communication expert who shares tips on motivation and relationships.

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            Published on May 7, 2021

            20 Energizing Brain Breaks For Kids

            20 Energizing Brain Breaks For Kids

            From coaching martial arts to children as young as four years old, I very quickly came to the understanding that if I wanted to help kids progress their skills, I needed to find a way to help them focus more consistently in my class.

            There are two key ways I found when it came to improving my students’ level of focus:

            1. Make what we’re doing more interesting. Nothing is off the table here—from having ninja clowns on the rampage in a lesson to including popular games with a martial arts theme, tapping into the student’s love of fun to help them focus.
            2. Introduce brain breaks.

            Brain breaks are small mental breaks that help the kids stay more focused. Think of the brain as a fuel gauge that shows the information you can consciously hold in your mind at any given moment. When the kids are focused and working hard on their tasks, the meter is usually full. They can easily concentrate and pass experiences into their long-term memory.

            But when the needle starts to drop, you may observe that your kids are feeling anxious or looking restless. New information, experiences, and knowledge are not getting processed from the staging area or working memory into the long-term memory.[1]

            It’s here that brain breaks make the most difference, as they allow us to “top-up the tank” or reset the gauge so that we can continue to learn and focus and at a higher level.

            If you’ve been home tutoring, you’ll appreciate that brain breaks can help kids in many ways. They can reduce stress and frustration. Think of those times when you’re helping your kids solve a difficult problem. It’s taxing for you both and when compounded with the energy loss after a day at school or watching TV. The stress effect can be compounded, and it’s here that brain breaks can be a lifesaver.[2]

            The following is a selection of brain break ideas for kids. You’ll see that some are physical activities while others are more relaxing. It’s always great to test them out to see which ones connect the best with your children.

            It’s okay to repeat the same brain breaks. Having a clear name and mission to a break can help keep your child excited, knowing that they’ll have the opportunity to take part in a future round of the activity.

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            Active Brain Breaks

            Here are some active brain breaks for kids that you can try out.

            1. Swapsies

            Have the participants stand behind a chair. Call out a character trait, like “everyone with brown eyes.” You then swap places with someone else who has the same characteristic. If you have nothing that matches, you stay put!

            Examples: “Everyone with trainers on.” “Everyone who is left-handed.” “Everyone who is wearing yellow.”

            2. Dance Party

            Put five or six different types of songs on Spotify, including a classic like “baby shark or the hamster dance.” Dim the lights if possible and have the kids dance to the tunes. Then, change the tunes and change the dance style. It’s silly and fun.

            3. Freeze Dance

            Similar to Dance Party except that when the music stops, students have to stay perfectly still until the music restarts. You can make this even more fun by trying to make the students smile. If they smile, they are out and have to sit down.

            4. Keep It Up

            Students must keep a balloon from touching the floor. You can add multiple balloons. You can make it more competitive by having different balloons of two different colors and split people into teams. Whoever keeps the balloons up the longest or the team with the most balloons in the air with a timer of 60 seconds wins.

            5. Simon Says

            This brain break for kids is an old favorite. You can also mix it up with martial arts moves, Fortnite dances, superhero moves, etc.

            6. Animal Movement

            Move like different animals. It’s fun for younger children. We use Flamingo where you stand on one leg, crawl like a bear, stand like a meerkat, run like a cheetah, and walk like a penguin.

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            7. Find It Fast

            “Find It Fast” is a scavenger hunt variation. Call an item out in the room and kids have to stand by it. For example, find a clock, find something with a face, find something smelly, find some money, find a phone, etc.

            8. The Frog

            Physical Challenges can be excellent fun. We have one in the martial arts class called “The Frog” where you squat like a frog, then lean forward so your head and feet are off the floor. These are all old yoga poses, so have a look through a booklet or website for some safe ideas. Other examples are grabbing your nose with your left hand and touching your knee with your right elbow.

            9. Pizza Delivery Time

            Give the students paper plates and tell them to hold the plates above their head on a flat hand. They then run around the room and try to keep the plate in their hand. You can make it more challenging by having other students try to knock others’ plates off. There’s usually a 3-star jump penalty if your plate touches the floor.

            10. Limbo

            We use martial arts belts and the students take turns going underneath the belts. Fun music creates an awesome atmosphere here.

            11. Human Knot

            Split the group of people and have everyone link hands under and over. That’s making knots between everyone in the group. Have the other students try to untangle them and return everyone back into a circle.

            12. Feather Balance

            This brain break for kids works well with gentle music, and you can use a balloon or a straw if you don’t have a feather handy.

            13. Stack them high

            The students should have plastic cups and paper squares. The goal is to make a tower as high as possible, or it could be to make a triangle or even a pyramid.

            Relaxing Brain Breaks

            We talked about brain breaks for kids that are being used to energize the students. But they can also be used to calm and relax them. We’re more familiar with the term mindfulness, but it’s the same idea. These are brain breaks for kids that reduce stress and anxiety.

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            14. Meditation

            Meditation

            is a popular way to reduce anxiety. There are lots of great examples already pre-recorded on YouTube that you can follow along with. Below is a useful classroom meditation example.

            15. Kaleidoscope

            Kaleidoscopes are fun ways to relax. They are mesmerizing and like a peaceful vortex that sucks you into them. Below is a great example of a visual online one you can use.

            16. Reading/Listening to a Story

            When I surveyed the members of our martial arts club about how their kids employ brain breaks at home, there was a clear winner among the families—listening to a story or reading a story. The feedback was that the process of daydreaming a little helps the kids to recharge. But it goes without saying that the story needs to be engaging.

            17. Doodling

            My personal favorite way to brain break as a kid was to doodle. Doodling gives your child a few minutes to draw anything they want. It can be calming for them, and it’s a lot more fun if you have different types of pens or crayons available to use. Add some soft music, and you have a simple way to take some time to relax.

            18. Coloring Sheets

            Coloring sheets are another way to relax the mind. There’s lots of great coloring in pads available, but here are some links to public resources shared on the internet that are great examples.

            19. Deep Breathing

            Deep breathing

            is an epic way to help your child slow down. It is a quick way to relieve anxiety so that they feel more ready for the next task ahead.

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            Try this: put your hands on your tummy, breathe in through the nose, and feel your belly expand like a balloon. Hold it here, then slowly breathe out through the mouth while feeling your stomach get smaller. Repeat this 10 times. Use the following counts: breath in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, and breath out for 4 seconds.

            20. Going Outside

            Go outside was the second most popular response from our parent’s survey about brain breaks for kids at home. Fresh air always feels nice. You can combine this with a treasure hunt, looking for different colored cars, types of birds, or even types of trees, if you’re familiar with these.

            My personal favorite is using a mushroom spotting app on our phones and finding a mushroom or toadstool, then using the app to identify its name. This is surprisingly engaging for children. But a few safety rules about not touching them is important. It gives kids a change of scenery and helps revitalize the senses, providing a welcome break from their homework.

            How Often Should You Introduce Brain Breaks?

            The key to brain breaks is their timing. If you can introduce them before you notice that your kids are entering deep fatigue or their loss of focus has set in. You’ll find a great balance between breaks and effort.

            I’ve observed from my martial arts coaching that younger students have a smaller amount of working memory than older kids. My formula is for five minutes of technical training, we provide five minutes of brain breaks for students under seven years old. Plus, we coach to 15 minutes of training to five minutes of brain breaks for children under 12 years.

            Final Thoughts

            Implementing calming brain breaks for kids is a really efficient way of introducing brain breaks. You have a quick way to allow your students to learn about regulating themselves. Balancing their mind and energy is a useful skill, and you can take this with you everywhere you go.

            Our martial arts center revolutionized our approach to coaching by using brain breaks for kids. We found that although we were teaching less technical skills, there was now consistent progress from the students. Plus, everyone was less anxious, happier, and are having more fun. This is a win overall.

            If you’ve been having challenges with your kids focusing at home, maybe try a mixture of the calming and active breaks to see which types work best for your kids.

            Featured photo credit: Robert Collins via unsplash.com

            Reference

            [1] SimplyPsychology: Working Memory Model
            [2] BrainFacts.org: Kids Need Brain Breaks — And So Do Adults

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