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25 Of The Best Family Movies For Teaching Honesty, Grit, Courage & More

Best Family Movies - Main Poster CollageIt’s so hard as a parent to draw our kids in to meaningful conversations, isn’t it?

Especially if the conversation is about something extremely important, but rather abstract in the minds of our kids, as the topic of building character?

Then again who says you have to sweat it out?

I’m a lazy parent – if there’s an easier way to do the job as well without me having to do all the heavy lugging, I’ll take that option any day, and twice on Sundays.

Which is why I love family movie nights.

The lights are dimmed in the house, and the sun is starting to set. The sound of “pop-pop-pop” is coming from the kitchen and the buttery smell of popcorn is wafting through the house. With the smells and familiar sounds, the children are running around, gathering their favorite pillows and blankets.

The oldest calls the longer couch. The younger one chooses her white fluffy blanket and the pink pillow, and decides to make a pallet on the floor.

Meanwhile, I am putting the DVD in, feeling grateful for the quiet moments that lie ahead. More than likely a scuffle or two about someone’s blanket touching someone else’s is happening in the background (hey, life isn’t perfect and they ARE siblings, after all).

As the last of the advertisements wind down, I spread the popcorn and drinks around the room, while the comforting and familiar sound of the “Feature Presentation” hits our ears.

At last, everyone is settled in.

Ah, bliss.

But this is not the only reason I love movie nights.

Did you know that it’s been scientifically proven that movies have the ability to persuade and teach our children?

Really. It’s true. This article on the power of persuasion by Dr. Jeremy Dean discusses the psychological reasons behind why movies work so well to influence our thought process. One of the comments he makes is this “Stories work so well to persuade us because, if they’re well told, we get swept up in them, we are transported inside them.”

So since that is true, what if we secretly stacked the cards in our favor? What if we, as parents, were very strategic in the movies that we choose and then used that impressionable time right after the movie concluded to discuss and impress upon our child the favorable character traits we want them to glean from that show?

Let’s say we just finished watching the old movie Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. The main character, Charley does the “right thing” even when all the other kids around him choose not to. In several poignant moments in the film, Charley makes important decisions that show his good character.

When the movie comes to a close, what if we took that extra moment with our child and nonchalantly asked them an open ended question such as “That was a cool movie, huh? Do you think it was hard for Charley to do the right thing when the kids around him were making bad choices?”

It’s amazing what kids will open up and say in this very vulnerable and open state. I am sharing this with you because I have personally found it to be so much more effective with my kids than just trying to talk about “doing the right thing”. At times when I’ve tried to discuss “doing the right thing” with my teenagers, all I ever received was the classic eye-roll.

Call me “sneaky” if you must. But hey, it works. And I’m all about doing things that work, especially if they are easy.

Therefore, let me equip you, my dear parent friend, with this list of 25 of the best family movies that I believe will help you in this venture. These movies will appeal to all age groups and engage the entire family, however for the purposes of this article, they are sorted by Rating. 
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How to Make Sure Your Kids Don’t Grow Up to Be Judgemental People

Judgemental People Main PosterDoes it bother you when somebody judges you?

I am an unmarried mom.

No, not a single mom, but an intentionally unmarried mom. In a committed relationship with the father of my 2.5 year old daughter for the past 11 years.

While many of my friends are happy for my happiness and have accepted my choice (whether they agree with it or not), every so often, I stumble into people who just cannot mask their disbelief (and often disdain) at the path we’ve chosen.

While I don’t easily get fazed by judgemental people, when someone assumes a moral high ground, it makes me wonder. Am I missing something? Is a traditionally married mother better than an unmarried one?

This is 2015. We have come a long way from branding the letter “A” on an unwed mother’s forehead, and yet, the only socially “acceptable” way to bear children is with a ring on mom’s finger.

Discrimination against unmarried mothers is just one example of why it’s time for a tune-up of our moral compasses. Whether it’s race, religion, sex, money, or education, our beliefs are often out-of-touch with today’s world.

If we’re to raise kind, compassionate kids into moral, empathetic adults, we need to separate judgement from morality.

There’s right and wrong, of course. The basic ten commandments, in whatever dish you prefer them served. Thou shalt not lie, cheat, steal, or harm (well, that’s the condensed version).

But judgement is often hidden under a veil of morality.

The unmarried mom, the breastfeeding preschooler, the attachment parent, the unschooler. In today’s world of 24-hour news channels and instant status updates from friends around the world, is it really our place to judge anymore?

We see lifestyles and events we never would have been exposed to before technology took over, and when the ideas go against our beliefs, attack is too-often the first line of the defense.

Technology has brought judgement to the forefront of our collective conscience, in the form of social media shaming, internet trolls, and opinion-based journalism. Judgement is our instinctive response to anything that is different from what we’re used to.

Of course, it’s natural to judge people. It’s instinctive, ingrained in the human species to be wary of people who don’t look the same. Even babies prefer similar looking company.

Let’s explore the grey area between right and wrong, where morals often become judgement, and conformity is our “safe place.”

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Exclusive Limited-Time Special Offers on Summer Boredom Busters and Unique Gift Closet Items

Looking for opportunities to stock up on Summer Boredom Busters and unique gift closet items?

Here’s something for you, then…

Our wonderful sponsors of the Scream-Free Summer Pledge + Giveaway that we ran last week have generously offered a chance to snag some cool, unique gifts at up to 40% off simply for taking the pledge! These are limited time offers, so grab them right away.

Enjoy!

1) 25% off Snowflakes Connect from Little Genius Minds

Snowflakes Connect

Snowflakes Connect is an educational toy that sparks imagination and lets your child exercise creativity and learn the fundamentals of engineering. It promotes spatial reasoning skills, motor skills and problem solving abilities. Endless combinations of simple ridged pieces can be connected and made into animals, birds, things and fun items. It includes over 340 colorful and attention captivating pieces. Use coupon code 8SQKAV4L to save 25% off. Valid until 6/29/15.

2) 40% off First Month’s Subscription from DoodleBug Busy Bags

Doodlebug Busy Bags

DoodleBug Busy Bags from Kidable Adventures is a monthly craft subscription for kids ages 3 – 10. These crafts are fun, easy, and affordable. Each month children receive a bag of 4 – 8 curated crafts, often centered on a holiday or seasonal theme, and all the supplies needed to complete each activity. Save 40% on your first bag of a monthly subscription to the DoodleBug Busy Bag. This first bag of your subscription will not include the branded tote bag, but the second bag will. The discount applies only to the first bag. Regular pricing of $15.99/month will apply thereafter. You may cancel at anytime. Use coupon code AFP2015 at checkout. Good through 6/30/15.

3) 20% Off First Month + Free Shipping from Ivy Kids

Ivy Kids Kit

Ivy Kids is a fun and educational monthly subscription kit for children ages 3-8. Each monthly Ivy Kids kit contains a classic children’s book, over ten fun and creative activities that are inspired by the story, and a personalized item for the child. The kit provides hours of meaningful play and hands-on activities which encourage children to develop problem solving, creativity, and critical thinking. Use code IVY20 to get 20% off your first kit when you sign up for any subscription. Also, the code IVYFREESHIP can be used for free shipping on any past kit in their online store.

4) 10% Off from iBbeautiful

iBbeautiful

iBbeautiful is founded on the belief that every girl is Beautiful just as she is. They work with a powerful monthly theme and message to help girls feel more empowered to accept themselves for who they are.  They celebrate the uniqueness of each girl and help girls to find their inner beauty through their monthly boxes containing fun lifestyle items along with their monthly message. Use code HELLO10_OFF to get 10% off their first basic box and WELCOME10_OFF to get 10% Off their first graphic tee box.

5) $5 off Your Next Subscription Box from Encourage Play

Encourage Play Play Kit

Encourage Play is dedicated to helping children learn social skills through play. The monthly subscription boxes are specially designed to make it easier for parents to help their child work on the skills they need to make social connections. Each month, the kit has a different social focus. In each kit, there are 2 ready to go play date activities and a family activity. Use code SUMMER2015 to receive $5.00 off your next subscription box. Coupon code is good until 6/30/15.

6) 25% Off Secret Agent Spy Science Kits from Mission Unboxable

Mission Unboxable

What kid doesn’t love mystery and Top Secret missions? Mission Unboxable offers individual missions and monthly subscriptions of exactly that — science spy kits and top secret missions mailed to your child’s front door every month! Secret missions include spy gear, disguise kits, fingerprint analysis, decoders, get-away cars, target practice, bird watching (yes, bird watching), bouncy balls and much, much more! They are easy, organic fun guaranteed to encourage your children to expand their minds! Use coupon code HOPE25 for 25% off any purchase.

7) 20% Off First Pack from My Max Pack

My Max Pack

My Max Pack, good healthy fun…delivered!, is the subscription box that helps turn picky eaters into pint-sized chefs! Centered around an animated character, Max On Snax®, My Max Pack™, is chock full of kid-friendly recipes and fun activities delivered to your door! Use coupon code “Scream Free Summer” to receive 20% off your first pack. Coupon valid through July 31/2015.

Enjoy!

Announcing the “Scream-Free Summer” Pledge + Giveaway (With COOL Prizes)

Scream_Free_Summer_let_your_kids_enjoy_their_childhood_featuredWe’re taking a bit of a break today to kick off the “Scream-Free Summer” Pledge + Giveaway (with LOTS of cool prizes). Come join us here –

“Scream-Free Summer” Pledge + Giveaway

We’ll be back with our regularly scheduled, potentially life-altering articles again next Monday :)

Here’s to a happy, scream-free summer everyone!

[Update:] For those of you already signed up and cannot see the list of prizes on the giveaway page anymore, here is the list. I’m sorry I couldn’t quite figure out how to modify the giveaway page directly…. :(

1) 3-Month Subscription to DoodleBug Busy Bags

Doodlebug Busy Bags

Venessa Banks from Kidable Adventures is offering a 3-month subscription to their popular product DoodleBug Busy Bags. Kidable Adventures provides hands-on, creative products for kids that entertain, enrich, and educate. One of their products, DoodleBug Busy Bags is a monthly craft subscription for kids ages 3 – 10. These crafts are fun, easy, and affordable. Each month children receive a bag of 4 – 8 curated crafts, often centered on a holiday or seasonal theme, and all the supplies needed to complete each activity. Once completed, the crafts may be used as learning tools, decorations, toys, or given away as gifts. DoodleBug Busy Bags are great for playdates, visits to grandma’s house, or babysitter nights. Connect with Kidable Adventures on Facebook and Instagram. (A $50 value; shipping included)

2) 3-Month Subscription from Groovy Lab in a Box

Groovy Lab in a Box

Monica Canavan from Groovy Lab in a Box is offering a 3 month subscription to their awesome STEM inspired boxes. Each box from Groovy Lab in a Box offered as a single box or through monthly subscription is full of everything a child needs to learn about and do hands on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) experiments. Each box activates thinking, questioning, inquiring, and original creation as they guide children through the “scientific inquiry & engineering design process.” Their product features all the supplies needed to complete activities, experiments, and design challenges outlined in their custom, subject specific lab notebook. (A $78 value; shipping included)

3) 3-Month Subscription to Benko Box

Benko Box

Laurie Frasier from Benko Box is giving away a 3 month subscription to their super cute art kits. Benko Box is a box for little kids with big imaginations. With each box, they send 10-12 art materials carefully selected for your children’s creative ideas. This box is about creative process. They always provide a few open-ended suggestions to go with each month’s materials if a little encouragement is needed. (A $72 value; shipping included)

4) 3-Month Subscription to iBbeautiful

iBbeautiful

Cindy Lupica from iBbeautiful is offering a 3 month subscription to their monthly box of inspiration for tweens or teens. iBbeautiful is founded on the belief that every girl is Beautiful just as she is. They work with a powerful monthly theme and message to help girls feel more empowered to accept themselves for who they are.  They celebrate the uniqueness of each girl and help girls to find their inner beauty through their monthly boxes containing fun lifestyle items along with their monthly message. (A $60 value; shipping included)

5) 3-Month Subscription from Bramble Box

Bramble Box

Morna Pollock from Bramble Box is offering a 3 month subscription to their super creative play kits. Bramble Box offers pretend play based activity kits for imaginative kids age 4 – 8. They offer a new theme every month, delivered once or as a monthly subscription. Each box is packed with fun and learning; pretend play props, activities, crafts and more! Just add a little bit of imagination. (A $75 value; shipping included)

6) 4 Secret Agent Spy Science Kits from Mission Unboxable

Mission Unboxable

Lisa C from Mission Unboxable is giving away 4 of their most popular Secret Agent Spy Science Kits. What kid doesn’t love mystery and Top Secret missions? Mission Unboxable offers individual missions and monthly subscriptions of exactly that — science spy kits and top secret missions mailed to your child’s front door every month! Secret missions include spy gear, disguise kits, fingerprint analysis, decoders, get-away cars, target practice, bird watching (yes, bird watching), bouncy balls and much, much more! They are easy, organic fun guaranteed to encourage your children to expand their minds! (A $60 value; shipping included)

7) Snowflakes Connect from Little Genius Minds

Snowflakes Connect

Saritha Bhandarkar from Little Genius Minds is offering their popular educational toy Snowflakes Connect. Snowflakes Connect is a toy that sparks imagination and lets your child exercise creativity and learn the fundamentals of engineering. It promotes spatial reasoning skills, motor skills and problem solving abilities. Endless combinations of simple ridged pieces can be connected and made into animals, birds, things and fun items. It includes over 340 colorful and attention captivating pieces. (A $50 value; shipping included)

8) 3-Month Subscription to My Max Pack

My Max Pack

Lori Osiecki from My Max Pack is offering a 3 month subscription to their incredibly cute and healthy subscription packs. My Max Pack, good healthy fun…delivered!, is the subscription box that helps turn picky eaters into pint-sized chefs! Centered around an animated character, Max On Snax®, My Max Pack™, is chock full of kid-friendly recipes and fun activities delivered to your door! Please visit http://www.mymaxpack.com to learn more about Max and My Max Packs!  (A $60 value; shipping included)

9) 3 of Their Popular Kits from Ivy Kids

Ivy Kids Kit

Taseea Lainas-Cruz from Ivy Kids is giving away 3 of their most popular kits! Ivy Kids is a fun and educational monthly subscription kit for children ages 3-8. Each monthly Ivy Kids kit contains a classic children’s book, over ten fun and creative activities that are inspired by the story, and a personalized item for the child. The kit provides hours of meaningful play and hands-on activities which encourage children to develop problem solving, creativity, and critical thinking. Ivy Kids kits are a great resource for parents and caregivers looking for fun and creative ways to spend quality time with their children while also helping them build important foundational skills in math, literacy, and science. (A $117 value; shipping included)

10) 3-Month Subscription to Encourage Play

Encourage Play Play Kit

Janine Halloran from Encourage Play is offering a 3-Month subscription to her wonderful play kits. Encourage Play is dedicated to helping children learn social skills through play. The monthly subscription boxes are specially designed to make it easier for parents to help their child work on the skills they need to make social connections. Each month, the kit has a different social focus. In each kit, there are 2 ready to go play date activities and a family activity. (A $75 value; shipping included)

11) 3-Month Subscription to Kelly Kits

Kelly Kits

Kelly Hanson from Kelly Kits is offering a 3-month gift subscription to her incredibly cool and creative art kits delivered free to your home. Kelly Kits is a monthly art lesson subscription for children ages 3-12. Every month features a fun new art lesson in painting, sculpting, drawing, printmaking, or collage. Each kit contains art appreciation, technical instruction, cross curricular lesson plans for age groups 3-6 and 6-12, and art materials for two children. (A $50 value; shipping included)

Sign up here

 

20 Good Character Traits That Will Make Your Kids Grow Up to Be Happy, Successful and Loved By All

Good Character Traits Main PosterHave you ever had to deal with complaints from your child’s teacher about his unacceptable behavior in school?

If you have, you surely know how it feels.

If not, let me tell you — it’s NOT a walk in the park. As a matter of fact, it is heart breaking and fills you with a gut wrenching sadness that makes you wonder where you could have gone wrong on your parenting journey.

How could I explain to his teacher that my sweet six year old has many good character traits and is usually not abusive?

It was dispersal time. I had gone to pick my son from school.  His teacher stopped me to tell me that Jay somehow had managed to get into a scuffle with his friends and ended up beating one of the boys black and blue. She gave me a firm warning about Jay’s unacceptable behavior letting him off fairly lightly just this time as this was his first episode.

I left her assured with promises to talk to him about it.

I was reeling. Seriously, did he (could he?) really do that? And why???

Well… It took me quite some time, through his sobs and anger, to sweet-talk a few sentences out of him. When I heard them though, they staggered me.

Suddenly, it was my turn to choke, with emotion.

His explanation was simple. The boys had not behaved appropriately with a classmate who happened to be a ‘girl’. This was unacceptable to my little boy who could not witness this silently as respect for girls is one virtue we hold very high in our family’s value system. I have done my best to hone this, along with other values that really matter to us, right since we started to talk to each other about this some four years back. So in that moment, when his values were being questioned, he had responded in the only way he knew how.

Good Character Traits: Listen to me please book cover“Mom, how could they be so rude to her or any girl? I just lost my steam”, he pleaded, looking at me with sad eyes, desperately seeking validation and beseeching me to listen to him.

I settled him down and we continued with our day.

Deep inside though, I had a lot to think about.

To tell you the honest-to-god-truth, I was actually happy and proud of my son for protesting against a wrong.

Yes, he had gone about it in a way that wasn’t quite right. I made a mental note of still having work to do on the impulse control and emotional intelligence front.

And we will. There’s time enough for that. It’s a learning journey.

But for now, I just want to celebrate this little victory – the little miracle of my 6 year old showing his strength of character by standing up for what he believed in, however misplaced the act was.

We parents do enough of the guilt trips and too little in way of celebrating our small victories. Well, this mom is taking a stand.

I will talk to his teacher and clarify what happened. I will apologize for the inappropriate way in which my son behaved and will do my best to work with her to come up with how we can guide him to handle things better next time. I will teach my son the tools he needs to stand up for what he believes in without causing trouble.

But today, I will relish that he is on his way to become everything I want him to be – a happy and successful person who will be loved by those close to him for the strength of his character.

And what are these character traits I want him to have? Here is my list –

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