Stress Management Lessons to Discuss with Kids from These 5 Disney Movies
Disney movies are often criticized for being cheesy and unrealistic, but they actually offer some great stress management lessons. Kids who don’t cope well with stress tend to become aggressive, disruptive or overly emotional. They might lash out at others, withdraw from social situations, cry excessively, refuse to do school work or become sickly (headaches, stomach aches). Parents should help kids understand why their bodies respond this way when they are stressed out. In fact, they can use popular Disney movies to teach children about stress, coping strategies and the importance of self-care. All you need is to browse through the content library of Disney+ in Singapore and point out which characters successfully manage their stress as well as those who do not cope well at all.
Here are five favorite Disney movies with great lessons on how to handle stress:
The Lion King
This movie offers great lessons on family dynamics and how to manage strong feelings of rejection. The plot follows Simba, a lion cub cast out by his evil uncle after his father is murdered in an attempt on Simba’s life.
You can discuss with your child what causes stress such as feeling rejected or angry about something. You can also talk about why it’s important to take care of ourselves when we are stressed out.
Finding Nemo will help children learn about coping strategies for managing stress. The characters in this film travel the ocean looking for the missing Nemo who has been abducted by a scuba diver. There are scary scenes with sharks, jellyfish, and storms that might cause young kids to feel overwhelmed or frightened.
You can talk to your child about how watching movies is not real life and it’s okay to be scared sometimes but there are ways to manage those feelings. It’s also important to remember that even if bad things happen, people work together as a team to solve problems.
This animated movie teaches great lessons on managing anger. When Bob Parr (Mr. Incredible) feels he can’t live up to his idealized family image, he becomes stressed out which leads him to lose control of his temper.
You can use this movie as an opportunity to talk about anger management with your child. As people get older, they might not always be able to count on their parents’ help when they’re in danger. They need to know how to deal with anger in positive ways even if life is unfair sometimes.
This Pixar classic will teach kids that everyone has different coping strategies for managing stress and it’s okay if one way isn’t the best choice every time. Some characters in this film pretend instead of facing problems, which is a serious self-care issue because pretending is unhealthy and dangerous in real life.
You can discuss with your child how it’s important to talk about feelings and to take responsibility for solving problems. Sometimes there might be no one around who can help us solve our issues, but that doesn’t mean we should pretend they aren’t there or that they don’t matter.
Frozen teaches children about the importance of self-care and stress management. When Anna sets out on a journey to find her sister, Elsa, she must embark on a dangerous journey to find her. Along the way, Anna learns to cope with her fears and anxieties, and finds new ways to manage stress.
You can use this film with your child to talk about managing feelings such as fear and stress when we face danger and how sometimes it’s okay not to be brave all the time, but we should still try our best even if that means facing scary things.
Parents will find it useful to teach kids that everyone has different ideas on what works for them to reduce stress and it’s okay if one way isn’t the best choice every time.
As you’re watching these movies with your child, keep in mind strong emotional scenes where strong messages on coping strategies for managing stress are portrayed. After each movie, talk with your children about what they have seen and what kinds of lessons they have learned from these films. You can also sing songs or play games related to coping strategies while watching these Disney classics!
It’s not always easy to find an appropriate movie that is also in line with your family’s values, but movies are a great way to interact with kids during times in their lives when they are struggling. You can use this time to make sure they know you care about them and demonstrate ways for coping with stress in healthy, productive ways.