What a boon media is to all of us even as an entertainment to help us erode away all our pains and worries of daily routines, break the monotony, cut back those few hours of our day to enjoy, have good fun laughing and relaxing watching movies. Such a great way to get entertained and energized for sure isn’t it?
But wait! Over time, I started realizing how our family tradition of enjoying movies together developed such a strong impact in my kids (aged 7 and 3) that they picked up habits from the different characters from the movie. They enjoyed imitating them at home and school. It dawned on me that this wasn’t mere imitation – these were thoughts and principles getting injected into the little brains that still haven’t fully learned the difference between right and wrong, facts and exaggerated facts/ fantasy by filmmakers to spice up movies.
Some questions we need to ask ourselves: Are we watching age-appropriate right movies with kids? What and how should we make this movie watching habit as a good thing for kids? Here’s what came to my mind as rules to follow from my experiences and after- effects of movie watching with my son and daughter
Pick the right movies (with less violence/bloodshed, good morals, fun and comedy) when watching with kids as a family.
Have good/engaging conversations with kids after watching the movie.
Example: My kids and I watched the Tamil movie “Amma Kanakku”. Here’s what we talked about after the movie while driving back home.
1 How do the characters demonstrate hard work, empathy and perseverance? Why are these important character strengths?
2 How does the little girl’s learning subjects in day to day life at school compare with yours?
3 How did the boy help the girl to develop her interest in math and how did he make it easy to learn? Is he a role model?
4 Some of the children (and some adults) get very upset when they lose. What do you do when you're faced with disappointment?
5 The girl’s mother was sometimes very hard on her. Can you see why she would be that way?
6 Kids: Do you ever feel that your parents ask too much of you or expect you to do more than you'd rather do?
Movies also show us ways to improve ourselves and give us an opportunity to stay connected as a friend to our kids. Discussing issues with kids (especially teens) can be an opening for them to open up on any challenges/ secrets they have in their daily life. I found that connecting myself with the kids beyond just the routine, making commute times, movie times and dinner times into a real bonding time brought about a huge positive impact in our family! What do you think?