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Laurie Burke: Choosing the right movie for a sensitive kid can be tricky. What's no big deal for one 6-year-old may be another's worst nightmare. Many parents figure out what their little ones can and can't handle by experimenting, but if you're looking to save time, here are 5 tips to help you avoid movie meltdowns.
First, keep it calm. Loud noises and fast action can be too much for some kids. Try movies with engaging storylines that don't overstimulate young minds, and avoid any scary stuff, especially before bedtime.
Second, no doom and gloom. Lots of animated favorites include deceased parents or lost pets. This can be tough for young viewers. Kids under 7 can't always tell the difference between fact and fantasy, so they'll process these situations the way they would a real one.
Third, avoid stereotypes. From pink princesses to buff ninjas, gender stereotypes still crop up in lots of kids movies. Look for movies that offer diverse, positive role models for boys and girls alike.
Fourth, no fights. Kids that are easily overwhelmed don't cope well with conflict. A good rule is to skip movies with big arguments that lead to fights. If you stumble across a rough scene, use the opportunity to talk to your kids about better ways to resolve problems.
And finally, limit the eww factor. If a kiss has your kids cringing, then look for stories that don't have romantic subplots. Media that places emphasis on beauty, sexy behavior, and stereotyped sexual roles isn't appropriate for young kids.
For more help finding age-appropriate media picks, check out our mobile app or visit us at commonsense.org. I'm Laurie Burke.