How To Pick The Best Movies For Children
Do You Need Help Picking A Movie That is Entertaining and Age Appropriate For The Children In Your Life?
When my sons were young, I may well have been the most careful Mom on the block when it came to picking a movie for my boys to watch. We did not watch very much television at all and, when we did watch a movie, it was a special occasion. Therefore, I wanted the movie to be an excellent choice and to be AGE APPROPRIATE.
The first example that comes to my mind is Ghostbusters. Ghostbusters is rated 'PG,' which means parental guidance recommended. On the surface, this movie seems like a fun, friendly choice and, as an extra bonus, it is related to Halloween, a subject for which we were always searching for movies that were appropriate for our children. We started to watch this movie and I was flabbergasted at the scene which takes place between Bill Murray and a ghost on a bed...I'll leave your imagination to fill in the details rather than be explicit here. Seemed like a wonderful choice but definitely, in my opinion, NOT.
A second example is when my ten-ish year old son was invited to a friend's birthday party where they were going to be watching horror movies. I fully understand that some tween boys and girls yearn to watch scary movies and horror movies. They really do want to be scared. However, most horror movies are NOT appropriate for children and I definitely did not want my son watching the movie choices that were being offered that afternoon. To complicate matters, my ten-year old son's brother had been invited to the party, too.
Anyway, this page is meant to be a resource to help YOU find the BEST MOVIES for your children. If you could you use a little help picking a movie, I know that the resources on this page will help you and your family find your next movie adventure as well as find some excellent movie resources that you will come back to again and again.
This page should also be helpful to the other people who want to buy a movie for the children in their life for whom they, too, only want to make an excellent, entertaining and appropriate choice. Grandmas and Grandpas, Aunts and Uncles, this page will help you find a movie gift for the young children in your life.
Protect Your Children From Inappropriate Movies
- Check out the ratings of a movie BEFORE you bring it home.
- Know that the MPAA ratings (G, PG, PG-13, R and NC-17) are defined by how much material in the movie is going to be objected to rather than on whether or not they are age appropriate. Use them as a starting point only.
- Remember, the information on the movie box is designed to SELL movies not to share the information you need to make a good movie choice.
- When in doubt, watch the movie BEFORE you show it to your children.
- Watch with your children. Don't present a movie and walk away.
- If you are watching something that you don't like, TURN IT OFF. That is what happened in my house with the Ghostbusters movie. I'm not sure at what age I would have found the scene mentioned earlier appropriate. My children are 17 and 18 now and I might still be uncomfortable watching Ghostbusters with them.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) Ratings Explained
G means 'General Audiences. All ages admitted.' These movies are considered suitable for all ages. However, young children are often not ready to watch full movies and should watch material that is recommended for their ages.
PG means 'Parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.' A movie that is rated PG may have some swear words, violence and/or tense moments.
PG-13 means 'Parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.' A movie that bears this rating will have stronger language, nudity and sexual references and/or violence. PG-13 movies can cover a lot of ground; one may be suitable for your child and the next not. You need to be especially careful with this category of movies.
Family Movie Reviews - By people who care about the movies children watch.
- The Movie Mom
The Movie Mom (Nell Minow) reviews movies and DVDs to advise parents on what movies are and are not appropriate for kids. My children grew up partially on the advice of The Movie Mom. I love the fact that she makes an age recommendation, gives the mo
- Commonsense Media
Common Sense Media helps parents choose what's best for their kids. Family Entertainment reviews and ratings for movies, television, video games, music CDs, books, and websites. Common Sense Media wasn't around when my children were young. There revi
- Not Too Scary Movies For Tweens or Pre-Teens on Halloween
Your Tween will probably be clamouring to see a scary movie this Halloween and probably will want to do so without you around. Scary books are one thing, you can put them down and walk away but scary movies on the other hand...If your tween is lookin
- How to Get the Most Educational Value Out of Watching a Movie
Movies can be an enjoyable and high-impact supplement to a homeschool curriculum if they are used deliberately. Rather than just tack on a relevant film to the end of your unit study, spend a few moments to plan how the movie will reinforce the theme
Have you seen a movie with children present when they should not have been?
The Best Family Friendly Movie Guide Books
The Movie Mom's Guide to Family Movies
It was with the assistance of the Movie Mom that my husband and I chose movies for our children. Of course, when we first 'met' her the internet was not so popular and we accessed her as an excellent, excellent resource through this book and her reviews on Yahoo. Now Nell Minow reviews movies as The Movie Mom on beliefnet.com. The book is dated but if you are interested in learning about movies that have been around for awhile you might still find her books helpful.
The Best Old Movies for Families: A Guide to Watching Together - The Amazon customer reviews HIGHLY RECOMMEND this movie guide to old movies.
The Best Old Movies for Families is a guide to older movies, which breaks movies down into three age ranges:
FOR THE LITTLE ONES AGED 3-6: This section includes fast moving movies that are fairly simple but not dumbed down. This section would include movies like Singin' in the Rain and Bringing Up Baby.
FOR THE ONES IN BETWEEN AGED 7-12: This section includes great stories with the characters in simple situations that turn out not to be quite so simple. This section includes movies like The African Queen and Some Like It Hot do the job well.
FOR THE OLDER ONES AGED 13+: This section includes movies that relate to contemporary movies and compares movies. For instance, without Alfred Hitchcock's work, there might be no Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
I don't personally own this book but, given the 15 five-star customer reviews on Amazon, I sure would like to!
Talking Pictures: A Parent's Guide to Using Movies to Discuss Ethics, Values, and Everyday Problems with Children - Once again, Amazon's customers give this boo
Talking Pictures is a book that will help you get discussion going with your children. This book actually takes the movies and uses them as ways to discuss sensitive issues. It covers subjects like divorce, marriage, family, love, gender identity, social ethics, separation and loss, friendship, death, illness and substance abuse.
A Few Great Children's Movies
(Rated G or PG)
Beauty and the Beast - Beauty and the Beast is one of the best blu-ray movies available.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - A classic movie choice redone masterfully on blu-ray and DVD.
Toy Story 3
How To Train Your Dragon
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