A List of the Best Movies for Your Sensitive Kid (Toddler to Big Kids)
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  • Every parent knows that one kid's worst fear is another kid's "no big deal." That makes choosing movies for young kids tricky. In most cases, kids younger than 3 likely aren't ready for feature-length movies at all. Better bets for a movie-like experience for them are special episodes of favorite TV shows or shorter-form features like Scholastic's great book adaptations.

    But as kids get a little older, their attention span grows, their interests expand, and parents are often looking for an hour and half of uninterrupted time. You can experiment with movies from Common Sense Media's Best First Movies List or search for movies in your kid's age range. After a little experimenting, you can usually get a pretty good idea of the kind of things that your kids can handle — and what they can't. Depending on your kid's particular sensitivity, the movies below can be great choices (or big no-nos!).

    A SmartParenting.com.ph article talks about sensitive kids as having "a sharpened sense of awareness, [who] can be easily overwhelmed by crowds, noises, sudden changes, and even the distress of others."

    Child psychologist and award-winning book author Maureen Healy describes highly sensitive children as gifted, creative, fierce, intuitive, and compassionate. "Such children are incredibly responsive to their environments whether it is the lighting, sounds, smells or overall mood of the people in their situations — these kids pick it up."

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    And in the end, parents know best, so use the suggestions below as a age-by-age guide, and take it from there.

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    No Loud Noises or Fast Action

    PHOTO BY Common Sense Media

    Watch:

    • Winnie the Pooh, 3+
    • The Snowman, 3+
    • Cinderella, 5+
    • Frogs and Toads: Max's Magical Journey, 5+

    No Dead Parents or Lost Pets

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    Watch:

    • Curious George, 4+
    • Tinker Bell, 4+
    • Robin Hood, 5+
    • Wallace and Gromit in Three Amazing Adventures, 7+

    No Princesses or Pink-splosions

    PHOTO BY Common Sense Media
    Watch:
    • The Jungle Book, 4+
    • Lilo and Stitch, 5+
    • The Rescuers, 6+
    • The Incredibles, 7+ 

    No Strong Emotions or Conflicts

    PHOTO BY Common Sense Media
    Watch:
    • Puppy Party 2+ 
    • Angelina Ballerina: Dreams Do Come True 4+
    • Ruby's Studio: The Friendship Show 4+
    • Wings of Life, 6+

    No Kissing (Ewww!)

    PHOTO BY Common Sense Media
    Watch:
    • VeggieTales: Lord of the Beans, 4+
    • My Neighbor Totoro, 5+ 
    • The Wizard of Oz 6+
    • Oceans, 8+

    Common Sense Media is an independent nonprofit organization offering unbiased ratings and trusted advice to help families make smart media and technology choices. Check out its ratings and recommendations at www.commonsense.org and sign up for its newsletter to read more articles like this.

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