Updated: Dec 17, 2019
Last night I indulged in some Disney, going to see the newly released Frozen 2. As I watched I was like many drawn into the charming characters, giggling at the use of humour and in awe of the amazing animation. Beyond all these elements of the movie I was taken on a journey that made a powerful commentary about change, sense of self, courage and connection.
Do not worry reading on will not contain any spoilers, you are safe to proceed.
Driving away from the cinema I had my mother's words in my ears saying "you can teach anyone anything, as long as it is of interest to them."
In our digital age you would be hard pressed to find a child or young person who does not like movies, TV shows or games. Although these are often solitary activities, there is power in parents intentionally engaging with their children in these things they are already interested and using it as an opportunity to start important reflective conversations with their kids about wellbeing, morals and sense of self.
Some of my favourite examples of intentional viewing include watching The Hulk to explore anger triggers and ways to manage big feelings, discussing Harry Potter focused on how friendships operate in the movie, Inside Out to develop theory of mind and emotional literacy and who could forget the strong themes of loss and grief presented to us through the lion king. My simple guide to these conversations would be using questions based on gentle enquiry to encourage self reflection and not simply stating your opinions. For example instead of stating that "Hermoine was crying in the bathrooms because Harry and Ron were bullying her" you could wonder with your child out loud, "I wonder why you think Hermoine is upset?". Through this our children are encouraged to develop independent thought and reflective skills that will serve them well across a range of domains in adult life.
If nothing else watching movies together is an opportunity for connection and can strengthens our relationships, but when intentionally viewing content we can use these moments of connection to create on family culture of open dialog and learning without children feeling lectured at. So said simply I endorse you going to watch Frozen 2.