Saturday, 4 February 2017

Movies and books which won't send your kid off the deep end

I don't know if you've noticed, but a LOT of kids' movies these days are very loud and obnoxious, resulting in similar behaviours in my child. Immediately after watching she's hyperactive, irritable and eventually (after arguing about everything) explodes into tears and has to be sent to her room for some quiet time to recuperate. Sassy American TV shows are particularly galling. We're trying to instill in my daughter respect for others, especially the adults who are charged with protecting and educating her. It doesn't matter how you cut it, adults and children are not equal. As adults we have experience and wisdom that only comes with age and making lots of mistakes. There is no fast track to knowledge. Kids must learn in stages, and listen to their elders. Some movies and TV shows do nothing to teach kids respect for themselves or anyone else.

So, in our house we've gone back to 'the good old days'. She loves The Sound of Music, and classic TV show Little House on the Prairie and a more recent offering based upon Flora Thompson's autobiography of life in the late 1800's Lark Rise to Candleford.  I know what you're thinking - these are so OLD FASHIONED! But not only are the stories interesting and exciting, she is learning a  lot about history and culturally relevant information that helps her make sense of who she is and who we are as a family.

In addition, I have just ordered a whole bunch of DVDs which I will put in the birthday and christmas box, to be given during the year, (not all at once!) Perhaps on a really rainy day when all craft/storynory/reading/board game options have been exhausted, I can whip out one of these DVDs.

Nostaglic? Of course I am! I was brought up in the seventies. In Australia we had a lot of TV shows from the fifties that did me no harm. This list of movies involves some (wait for it) old fashioned values. So if you're a wildly enthusiastic bra burning feminist, click away now before you get angry at my choices. I make NO APOLOGY for being a traditionalist. I believe very strongly in the traditional family and traditional values. If you don't agree, that's fine. But it's my choice and I have very good reasons for upholding these values.

Most of these movies are based on classic children's books by the best writers in the world. A couple are for sheer fun and silliness.

Anyway, enough of that. Here is the list!

We've read the books, (Heidi, Heidi grows up and Heidi's children). This is the story of a little girl without close family who goes to live in a totally different world and finds herself very much attached to her fierce looking grandfather. The lifestyle is completely different to what she is used to (milking goats, homemade cheese and bread, living high up in the alps) but she makes friends and is cherished by all who come to know her. A story of resilience, if ever there was one.

Little Women
We're reading this at the moment. The book does take some skill to read out, as the language is antiquated, but she is nevertheless enjoying getting to know the characters.

The Secret of Moonacre
We loved the book. Can't wait to see what the movie adaptation will be like.

A Little Princess
Don't know this story. Should be fun to find out!

The Secret Garden
What an amazing story of children's courage! We loved the book.

Huck Finn.
I read this at school many years ago. Its a strange and sometimes scary book, but kids love it because Huck is so plucky and somehow manages to get out of trouble. Historically speaking it is interesting too, with issues such as slavery and friendship between people of different ages and races.

Tom's Midnight Garden
A classic timeslip book with an unusual relationship at the heart of it.

The Shaggy Dog
I remember this well! A bit of silliness, magic and mistaken identity.

The Swiss Family Robsinson
I read this as a child. So thrilling! Made me think what it would be like to believing on an island with nothing but your wits and ability to make what you needed. A terrific family saga.

Davy Crockett
There is a harshness about pioneer America that needs to be told. Heroes weren't always so clear cut and people led quite hard lives. Davy tries to do the right thing. I know its glamorised him a bit (the man who boasted he'd shot 100 bears). But that gives us room to chat about such things and the historical context.

The Parent Trap
Always a favourite, no matter which version you see. I'm hoping this one is fun!

The Railway Children
This lovely story about WWII and how children perceived it is brilliant.

Swallows and Amazons
Reminds me of my own childhood, when we roamed the neighbourhood and played in the bush. Our made-up games gave us hours of fun and taught us so much about getting along with others and the importance of creativity and problem solving.

The Absent-minded Professor
Another bit of silliness. Lots of fun. Stokes the imagination!

So there's my current list. You may have other ideas which are just as good or better. The important thing is that these stories are told simply, not with huge, loud amazing special effects. I would add a couple more - The Neverending Story and Fly Away Home.

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