Utilizing Movies, Videos and Books to Understand Your Child Better

Children are seen in a movie theater laughing at what they are watching.

As parents, one of the key ways to connect with and understand your children is by paying attention to their preferences when it comes to shows and movies.

By asking a simple question like, “What shows or movies make you laugh or think?”, you can gain valuable insights into your child’s sense of humor, thought processes, empathy levels, feelings, and even personality traits.

Observing how and when your child responds or reacts to various media. Notice if they are sensitive to the audio portions over the visual? Are they paying attention to dialogue and what people say? Are they aware of the plots? Do they laugh, or are they tender and weepy as they get involved with the characters? 

Understanding Humor

When your child mentions the shows or movies that make them laugh, take note of the type of humor involved. Is it slapstick comedy, witty banter, or clever wordplay? Understanding what makes your child laugh can give you a glimpse into their sense of humor and what they find amusing.

Their sense of humor can be supported in everyday activities and bring laughter into situations while making great memories.

Insight into Thought Processes

The shows or movies that make your child think can reveal a lot about their thought processes. Do they enjoy complex plots that require deep reflection, or are they more drawn to thought-provoking themes and moral dilemmas? By identifying what engages their minds, you can better understand how they process information and make sense of the world around them.

Ask them which character they would be if they had been in the movie or book, and why. Listen closely to their responses to work on your deep listening skills, and ask clarifying questions. 

Empathy and Feelings

Pay attention to the shows or movies that evoke strong emotional responses from your child. Do they empathize with the characters’ struggles and triumphs? Are they moved by heartwarming stories or saddened by tragic events? By recognizing the emotional impact of different media on your child, you can gain insights into their empathy levels and emotional intelligence.

This is a great opportunity to ask them about their friends too. “What would your friend do in that situation that would have been different than you?” They are more observant than you know and validating their observations opens opportunities for conversations about respecting our differences and how to respond empathically.

Personality Clues

Your child’s preferences in shows and movies can provide valuable clues about their personality. Are they drawn to adventurous tales that reflect their daring spirit? Do they prefer stories about friendship and loyalty, highlighting their values? By observing the themes and characters that resonate with your child, you can uncover aspects of their personality that may not be as easily expressed in everyday conversations.

By actively engaging with your child’s media choices and asking them about what entertains and engages them, you can foster deeper connections and better understand who they are as individuals. So next time you sit down to watch a show together, don’t forget to ask, “What shows or movies make you laugh or think?” – the answers might surprise you!

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

– Dr. Seuss

Two boys and a girl are watching a movie that they enjoy with a bowl of popcorn on the lap of the middle boy.

Sample Questions to Ask Your Child

Curious and Imaginative Child:

    • What was the coolest part of the movie (or book) for you?
    • If you were the main character, what would you do?
    • Can you think of a different way the story could end?
    • How did the movie make you imagine new things?
    • Which character did you like the most, and why?

Analytical and Thoughtful Child:

      • What did you learn from the movie (or book)?
      • How did the characters solve problems? Could they have done it another way?
      • Did you notice any hidden messages or secrets in the movie?
      • What good things did the characters do?
      • How did the movie make you think about real life?

Creative and Artistic Child:

    • How did the colors and pictures in the movie (or book) make you feel?
    • Did the music in the movie make it more fun? How?
    • Were there any parts that made you want to be creative?
    • Can you picture making your own version of a scene from the movie?
    • Which art parts did you like the most?

Empathetic and Compassionate Child:

    • How did you feel when the characters had problems?
    • Were there any parts that made you feel happy or sad? Why?
    • Did anything a character did surprise you? How did it make you feel?
    • How would you help a character if they needed it?
    • Did the movie (or book) make you think about being nice to others?

Adventurous and Energetic Child:

    • What part of the movie got your heart racing?
    • If you were in the adventure, what would you do?
    • Which parts made you feel excited or thrilled? Why?
    • What challenges did the characters face that you found most thrilling?
    • How did the movie make you want to go on an adventure?

What are some of your favorite responses from your child after watching a movie or reading a book?

Share your favorite moment or moment when your child shared a thought or moment from a favorite movie, book, or video that made you laugh, or become thoughtful. Do you have any movies or books that you’d like to recommend?