Teaching Children the Beauty of Film


screen time, kids, moms

Editor’s Note: Happy Thursday! All week long we’re talking about screens – from TV shows to tablets for kids and grownups of all ages. Love ’em or hate ’em, screens and screen time are a hot topic in parenting circles. Read on for one mom’s take, and check back here all week for more screen-related posts!

In our home, screens are used for several reasons. From down time for the wiggly babies to lessons for home schooling, we utilize them frequently throughout the day. As our daughters mature, though, one delightful way they are being used is to teach them the aesthetics and artistry of film. They are still young so we aren’t analyzing details in a lesson, per se. We still want movies to primarily be about fun. So these are informal interactions as we relax as a family.

We take in the beauty of a movie and comment on elements quietly during the film. They are usually the authentic emotions related to a film we have seen previously without the children. Re-watching them together allows us moments to be intentional with them. It may be the control of the actor’s facial expressions that allow us to know what the character is feeling or thinking without their words or the simplicity of an emotional score that brings us nearly to tears or the exquisite cinematography that visually transports us through time directly into a scene.

The industry is full of poor quality items. It is often borderline garbage simply to make money.  A cheap thrill. We are affected by imagery and so that can be what impacts them. When that is what goes into their minds, it certainly is not best. There are people striving for excellence in this field of work, however. They should be appreciated. They are intentional and thoughtful. We can use it to encourage our children to seek in real life that which they are being fed. Art can be a tool to become sensitive to lovely things and to things that take time to come about. Ultimately, for us, it is another opportunity in training their tender hearts to be moved by beauty, to seek beauty and to create beauty.


Three such works that are at the top of our list. The first is the long time classic, The Red Balloon. There are so few words everything is communicated through the score and acting. The balloon, even, communicates intent and emotion. Next is the 2008 animated film, The Tale of Despereaux. Few cartoons can move me the way this one did. Obviously, the story is fabulous, but we also talk about the music and the voices of the actors. Most recently, we have loved Hugo. It is stunning. You could mute the story and just be enchanted by the pacing and cinematography. The whimsical combination of fantasy and reality, the delightful score and casting make it a top choice.

I am all for reducing screen time. Getting out and enjoying life and people are fabulous! When we do sit down, though, our choices can be intentional. With great subtlety we can share with our children the fantastic art form of film.

What films does your family love? Do you watch them over and again? Is there a reason they are your top picks?