Make every movie a PG movie.
Parental guidance is the key to movie watching.
During our Summer History Camp at GoPlay!, it is essential to use movies to offer glimpses into the world prior to the World Wide Web. When we show movies, we often stop the DVD and point out items used in the scene that depict the time period. Recently, while showing clips from an old MGM musical, Meet Me in St. Louis, which takes place in 1903, I, as always when watching films with the children, asked detailed questions about the scenes. This had one of the boys exclaiming, “You’ve seen this before!” It was then that I thought of the idea for this blog post.
I would like to encourage parents to watch videos WITH their children, and to pick movies that are out of the ordinary. We say at GoPlay!, children learn while playing, but a child will excel when the play experience includes an adult. The same is true for movie watching. But the compelling reason to pop in your favorite childhood movie, or a movie other than the typical "kid movie", and watch with your child, is communication.
While GoPlay! uses the movie clips to teach, a subsidiary benefit to watching with children is the creation of cohesion. Its starts a dialogue,even when there is very little actual conversation going on, and thereby prompts emotional bonding. That emotional bonding, in turn, opens the door to actual communication. With you by their side, children can be exposed to stories that might not otherwise grab their attention. Children will gain from your enthusiasm for the movie and your insight into certain aspects of the story.
Start some traditions. If The Wizard of Oz is your all-time favorite, watch it with your child every June. (It would coincide with GoPlay’s dress-up day.) By watching together you can significantly de-wicked-ize the Wicked Witch. Or you can eliminate certain scenes altogether; not all movies need to be watched in their entirety. In fact, by watching just parts of The Wizard of Oz, the children's imaginative playtime at GoPlay! consists of an ongoing improvisational play, in which they interact together while pretending to be characters from the movie, regardless of how the actual movie may play out.
I suggest watching movies with your children for another reason - your sanity. At a certain point, everyone - you and your children -needssome “down time”. Spending an unhurried hour or so with your favorite people, watching your (that's right; you're in control) favorite film, seems like a pretty sensible way to regroup and bond.
So next time you reach for the Frozen DVD, think "Parental Guidance" and pop in a DVD you would like to watch, grab some popcorn and join with your child in the experience of movie watching