This post is not meant to bring controversy. I am an avid believer in doing what works for you. This is one of those things that works for me and I'm going to tell you why...
When I first had my son I as most new moms do read book after book parenting. In most of my reading I found that letting your kids watch movies at too young of an age can be harmful to their development.
Though I have been very selective and sensitive to what he watches (and what we watch for that matter) I have found the total opposite.
Here are the reasons I think movies for kids is a good idea:
1-Visual Development Animated films are vibrant and colorful. Characters move around causing the developing eye to follow the color and shapes.
2-Auditory Development and musical stimulus
From the whimsical musical tones to the wide variety of voices, children develop voice recognition and the skills required to follow conversations. There is always a catchy tune in these films that help children quickly learn lyrics to songs and the concept of singing while developing rhythm and melody.
Animated film uses emotion in the story line and character development as part of the art form. This is why children love them so much. They make you laugh, they can make you cry, they can scare you, they can make you fall in love. Children see these characters and recognize the emotions they have and relate to it and the expression of it.
4-Character building through character relation
We all remember as a child having a favorite character and wanting to be that character. We relate to the specific traits in the characters we love and because we love them those traits become part of our own character.
5-Conceptualizing friendships and relationships
In Disney movies specifically the world is a fairy tale. There are Heroes and villains. That teach us some of the most valuable lessons in life. They teach us the importance of friendship and love. A child's mind picks up on this because they are being entertained at the same time. They enjoy watching these stories unfold on screen this stimulates the right brain to relate and conceptualize having friendships and relationships in their lives as they grow.
Between children's books and animated film you can transport yourself to new dimensions, different realms, and Far off places. All while meeting people from all walks of life. You can travel the world through both of these tools. It is critical in a young child's developing mind to ignite and nourish the imagination that takes them do new places and inspires them to dream. The bigger you imagination the greater and more vibrant your dreams, and there for your life.
I grew up watching Disney movies. They taught me to believe in my dreams, to work hard for what I want in life, and to always listen to the song in my heart. Those movies became part of my culture and instilled in my the power of imagination. To this day I use the same tactics I did as a child that I learned from these movies to unleash my imagination and be confidently creative in my career. I am very fortunate to be in one of the most creative professions in the world and I owe that to Disney. Who taught me that "It's kinda fun to do the impossible." -Walt Disney
8-Creates a positive atmosphere
80% of everything you here on the world today is negative. I know I can not protect my children from that but I do know that I can control what happens in the home. We have vowed to make that environment a positive one. One of the simple ways to do that is turn on a happy movie. This should not be the only source of entertainment or positivity. It is an add on in our house. We try to always have positive interactions and activities going on. However we are human and that is not always easy. Positive uplifting music and movies can change that energy in an instant. Our Disney movies are a great tool for this.
Along with these 8 reasons, there are rules that we follow when it comes to this whole concept.
Rule #1 be VERY selective with the films you allow your children to watch. Just because it is animated does not mean it's automatically a good source of learning and child development. Think about what you want your kids to learn and pick up on. If the specific film does not live up to those standards do not make this part of your rotation. I have found some films to be too much, too over the top, annoying, and even negative. Those titles are not in our home.
A few things I look for in animated films for my child:
*An absolute must is a good positive message. This brings the most value because the whole movie is centered around a life lesson. Having that part of the entertainment is critical.
*Fun, Happy, Positive characters
*An overall feeling of love and friendship.
Always keep in mind movies should never be your only parenting tactic. I'm not saying to just turn movie after movie on and call it good.
Movies should be an add on to what you are already doing. Children need human interaction, they need to socialize, and have guided and non play time.
They also need guided and non guided learning experiences. Any activities or adventures that help them reach milestones and developmental steps.
Story time is a must for my family. My son has learned so much from reading. We started reading to him during pregnancy and ever since it has been his favorite part of the day. You can not read too much to your children. There are some incredible children's books out there. But that will be discussed in our next post....
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