Tips on how to raise a film-smart child: • Avoid taking toddlers to the movies. They are not developmentally ready to appreciate a full-length story and will tend to watch...

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Tips on how to raise a film-smart child:



Avoid taking toddlers

to the movies. They are not developmentally ready to appreciate a full-length story and will tend to watch a feature as a collection of unconnected pieces, drawing on their own limited knowledge of the world to help them figure it out.

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Introduce preschoolers

to the movies by letting them watch age-appropriate videos or DVDs.

Try to get them to talk about what they see by having them identify colors, locations and the emotions of the characters. Begin to teach them how to handle scary scenes in movies. Rehearse with them what they will do if they feel frightened. If something is too scary, ask them to draw a picture or tell you a story about what they would like to see happen.



Let older children

— those in kindergarten through third grade — know that seeing a movie in a theater is not like watching movies at home.

It is very dark, there is a huge screen and there is no talking or running around. Give them some background on the movie before they see it, especially if it takes place in another time or location. Try to tie the film into something they are interested in and be respectful of a child’s own sense of what is too scary.



Begin discussing

movie themes, character and plot development and other film complexities once children reach the fourth grade.

As they begin seeing movies with their friends, be sure to research the films ahead of time to make sure they are appropriate and to be able to discuss anything significant with them afterward.



Continue to impose limits

on high-school students.

Just because your child is over 13 does not mean that any PG-13 movie is appropriate. Try to watch movies with your teens as often as possible as a way to connect with them. Because teens like to express their views on morality, they may be willing to talk with you about issues raised by the films.



Ease up on restrictions

as teens reach their last couple of years of high school.

Older teens are ready for mature material that deals with the complexities of relationships and choices. Movies give them their first real glimpse into the adult world of love and work.

Try to make sure as they become old enough for a wider range of movies that they are exposed to not just the R-rated slasher films and sex comedies aimed at teens, but also thoughtful dramas, sharp satires and independent and foreign films that give them a sense of the wider world.

Source: The Movie Mom’s Guide to Family Movies by Nell Minow.

Web site is movies.yahoo.com/mv/.