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Carey Bryson

Carey's Kids' Movies & TV Blog


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Taking Baby to the Movies?

Monday March 31, 2014

Have you ever taken a baby to a movie theater? I see people do this all the time. Every once in a while, said baby starts to wail in the middle of the film, and you know whether the parent promptly takes the baby out or not, the film has been disrupted at that point.

Now if the film is a children's film, I'm not going to get upset about it as long as the baby is taken out if he starts getting loud, particularly if the showing is early in the day. If a family wants to see a movie together and they can't find anyone to babysit, who am I to judge? Matinee showings of kids' films are often a little noisier anyway.

But my real question is about those babies who sweetly sleep the whole way through as the rest of the family enjoys the movie together. Yes, there are babies who do that, and it never ceases to amaze me. I avoid taking babies to the movies at all costs, because I just know how it would go down, and I get really stressed out about things like that. I don't want my kid disrupting anyone's movie experience.

Now you know why I'm writing this post, right? Yes, because a couple of weeks ago I broke my cardinal rule of avoiding taking the baby to the movies at all costs. I really needed to see Mr. Peabody & Sherman, and I wanted to take the older kids, and darn it, I didn't want to leave my husband home, and there were no other babysitters to be found. (Okay I have to be honest here and say there were no trusted babysitters to be found, which for me with a baby that small means...my mother-in-law couldn't do it).

We went to the earliest showing. My husband sat on the end close to the exit ready to run out of the theater with the little guy if necessary. My plan? Baby was going to fall asleep eating and stay that way. What happened was baffling. My noisy, has to be bouncing all the time baby sat there and watched half the movie, then ate and fell asleep that way.

Am I likely to do it again? Nope. I think we got lucky, and besides, who knows what watching 3D movies with no glasses on could do to a baby's eyes, but I digress. I'm glad we got to see the movie together as a family, and I'm not going to begrudge anyone else that experience if they choose to chance it as well. But even though he was very good during that movie, I was still stressed at the thought that he might let out a sudden wail, as babies often do, and so that was likely the extent of his movie going until he's old enough sit quietly and appreciate the experience. This means I will have to be better at planning ahead for babysitting, because there are some excellent family movies coming up later in 2014 that we'll want to see together.

How about you? Do you take your baby to the movie? and if so, does it stress you out? -- for me it's almost as bad as taking the baby on an airplane...



Healthy Media Habits Teach Important Life Skills

Monday March 31, 2014

Limiting kids' exposure to media is about more than just making sure they don't watch too much TV or waste too much time playing video games. It's even about more than protecting kids from content that is disturbing, degrading or otherwise diminishing to the human soul. Just like other things in life that can be overdone or addictive, healthy media use requires self discipline. And with the unfathomable number of devices now available to all of us, keeping screen time in check is harder than ever.

In my opinion, one of the greatest gifts we can give our kids is to teach them the hard skill of self-discipline. People with self discipline are not only able to avoid overdoing things or getting themselves into troublesome situations, but they are also more successful as they are able to make themselves work hard and manage time wisely.

Media is one tool that can help parents teach kids to discipline themselves and monitor their own behavior. Parents can teach these lessons by explaining to kids why keeping media use in check is so important, and then empowering kids by allowing them a say in setting the rules and guidelines your family follows when it comes to media time and what content is appropriate or not.

Help kids establish and stick to healthy TV habits. Also, when co-viewing with kids, find opportunities here and there to help kids process what they are watching and analyze how behavior or events apply or don't apply to the real world. Parents can even use commercials to effectively teach kids life skills that will help them in every aspect of their lives.

There are so many ways that we can use media for good, but as parents, we have to remember to be proactive. Kids are learning from all sorts of media every day whether we like it or not. The extent of their exposure and the messages they receive are up to us, but if we give kids a part in monitoring and regulating their own media behavior, we can empower them to be stronger, more productive individuals now and in the future.


Childhood Classics

Thursday March 27, 2014

For movie night the other night, we were trying to think of movies our kids have never seen. We racked our brains for childhood favorites the kids might enjoy, keeping in mind that movies we watched as kids sometimes aren't what we would let our kids watch today. For example, I loved Goonies; however, due to some of the content in that movie, I wouldn't let my younger kids watch it now. We've been surprised a couple of times when watching older movies and content we thought nothing of as kids shocks us a little when we watch with our own kids.

So, we thought of Never Ending Story, The Dark Crystal, Flight of the Navigator, and a couple of others. I know we saw tons of movies as kids, but only a few still stand out today, and many of those memorable flicks are common to both my husband and my lists.

We then tried to think of what movies from our kids' childhoods will stand out to them when they are older. We see so many movies, which ones will they tell their kids about?

Clearly several Disney and Pixar movies like Frozen, Tangled and Toy Story will continue to be favorites. What about non-animated films? There's the Harry Potter movies, of course, and other great films based on books. Many Super hero movies will likely maintain their super status. Beyond that, most of the movies my kids want to watch over and over are animated. Animated movies have come so far since we were kids.

What are some of your favorite childhood films, and what movies do you think your kids will be telling your grand kids about?

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

Friday February 28, 2014

Green eggs and ham, anyone? This weekend (March 2) is Dr. Seuss' birthday. Celebrate by reading a few Seuss books and/or watching TV renditions of his fabulous tales.

Our favorite Seuss story is How the Grinch Stole Christmas, but since the holiday season has passed, we'll likely read a couple of his longer tales like Horton Hears a Who or The Lorax and some fun shorter ones as well. Many of these fun rhyming stories are available in cartoon version on DVD, and some have been turned into full length theatrical releases, Horton Hears a Who and The Lorax included.

READ MORE about Movies Based on Dr. Seuss Stories...

Also, on Monday and throughout next week, PBS KIDS is celebrating Seuss' birthday with new episodes of the educational show for preschoolers The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That. This educational series stars Seuss' famous Cat in the Hat, who takes his friends Nick and Sally on scientific adventures where they learn about animals, habitats and other types of natural science. Check local PBS listings for exact times. Or, you can also find episodes of The Cat in the Hat Knows a lot About That on DVD and on demand.

While reading is the most obvious and educational way to celebrate Seuss' b-day, watching movie versions of his stories can be educational too. TV time coupled with reading and parent interaction can even help kids develop communication skills and early literacy skills. Extend the learning even further by having kids create their own wacky character and write a rhyming story like Dr. Seuss did.


(Photo PBS KIDS)

Frozen Sing Along with Funny Kids

Saturday February 8, 2014

For my daughter's birthday we saw the sing along version of Frozen at the movie theater. Thanks to Disney, we now have a couple more stories to add to our repertoire of funny stories about our kids:

First, after the movie we ate a cake that had snowmen on it. My 3-year-old nephew was ecstatic to get one of the generic looking frosting snowmen. After he ate his cake, my husband asked, "How did Olaf taste?" My poor nephew dissolved into sobs. "I didn't want to EAT Olaf!" he wailed. His mother asked him if he gave Olaf a warm hug before he died. This did not help his emotional state. He was finally consoled by a frosting tree and my sad attempt at drawing Olaf on his napkin. The whole scene was both heartbreaking and adorable.

Second, my daughter now has a new response every time we tell her we're leaving, it's cold out and she should get a coat. She simply says, "The cold never bothered me anyway," and she proceeds to the door with no coat. My husband and I just roll our eyes and let it go.

(Photo Disney)

The LEGO Movie - Great Advertising!

Monday February 3, 2014

I went to see The LEGO Movie last weekend, and I took my 8-year-old daughter with me. When we got to the theater, we were thrilled to see a giant LEGO display that was a LEGO city much like the one in the movie. The display had been created by a local chapter of TexLUG and Brick Fiesta, and it was a huge success. Every kid that walked through the theater doors started gunning for that table as soon as they saw it.

What is it about a LEGO world that is so mesmerizing? It's that way with any little world -- dioramas, models, snow globes, whatever -- creating little worlds is just so whimsical and fun.

Anyway, as we walked away from the table and the crowd of kids oohing and ahhing at the city, my daughter said to me, "Wow, that was some great advertising!" I was so interested that she made that connection. We have worked hard to teach our kids to think critically about advertising, so I was glad to see her applying those thinking skills to this unique campaign.

Now I don't want to raise a bunch of cynics, but I think she was able to enjoy and appreciate the fun LEGO display for exactly what it was: a wonderful display of hard work and creativity, and a way to advertise the movie.

(Photo CB )

2 New Series for Preschoolers

Saturday January 18, 2014

Saddle up partners! Sheriff Callie's Wild West premieres Monday, January 20th on the Disney Channel at 5:00 p.m. ET/PT. If you haven't had a chance to check it out yet, you can catch a few episodes on Watch Disney Junior. The show is a rootin' tootin' good time for preschoolers that pays flavorful homage to Westerns and the Old West.

(Photo Disney)

And on February 3 at 1 P.M. (ET/PT), you can catch Nickelodeon's newest show for preschoolers, Wallykazam! This series feature mythical characters like ogres, trolls and sprites, and the show has a strong literacy based curriculum much like those we usually see on PBS shows for kids.

(Photo Nickelodeon )

Cloud 9 and a New Disney Series Tonight!

Friday January 17, 2014

Cloud 9, an all new Disney Channel Original Movie debuts tonight January 17 (8:00 p.m. ET/PT). The movie features a teen romance on the slopes and follows the story of a "spoiled little rich girl" who shreds the stereotype and proves nothing is impossible.

Following Cloud 9, is the premiere of the new Disney Channel series I Didn't Do It. The series is told in an interesting flashback format and follows the zany adventures of fraternal twins Lindy and Logan as they begin their freshman year of high school.

(Photo Disney)

Henry Hugglemonster - Social Problem Solving for Preschoolers

Thursday January 16, 2014

This week a new DVD featuring episodes of the Disney Jr. series for preschoolers Henry Hugglemonster hit store shelves. The new DVD features 6 episodes of the colorful show about a tight-knit family of loveable monsters.

Between networks like Nickelodeon, Disney and PBS KIDS, as well as others, there are a plethora of educational shows for preschoolers, right? -- math-based, science-based, literacy focused, and especially preschoolers' series that model positive social skills and teach kids "life lessons."

My absolute favorite curriculum for preschoolers' shows is problem solving and critical thinking. I love shows that help kids learn how to think outside the box, because any kid can learn the ABCs, but kids who learn critical thinking skills early have an advantage for their whole lives. Shows that teach math and literacy are awesome too, and I've often used them to help my own preschoolers learn, but teaching kids to think, analyze, question and brainstorm are always skills I try to incorporate.

So that brings me back to Henry Hugglemonster. What is unique about this show, because there are tons of preschoolers' series that teach kids positive social lessons, is that it teaches kids to problem-solve social situations. The show is super whimsical and fun for both boys and girls, and the best part is, Henry talks directly to viewing kiddos and gives them a sort of stream-of-conscience play by play of what his is thinking and the logical steps he's going through to work out issues like how to deal with a sibling conflict.

Thus, viewing kids not only have a blast watching these adorable episodes, but they also see examples of how to think about and analyze social situations. Check out the show if you haven't already, and if your preschooler has difficulty with a social skill like sharing or having patience, you can use Henry's tactic of thinking out loud as well to model positive thought processes for him.


(Photo Disney)

2014 - Which Animated Movie Is Your Family Most Excited For?

Thursday January 9, 2014

It's a tough question! My kids can't wait for the sequels to some of their favorite movies like How to Train Your Dragon and Rio. I am looking forward to those as well, but I think I'm most excited for The Boxtrolls and Big Hero 6. I love something new and different.

Check out the upcoming animated films of 2014 and see which ones you and your kids are most looking forward to...

(Photo Focus Features)

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