What kinds of movies are OK for my preschooler?

The best movies for preschoolers are short, without much suspense, and have plenty of positive messages.

Here are some more things to think about when choosing age-appropriate movies for preschoolers:

Violence and scariness. Avoid shows and movies in which characters use violence to resolve conflict -- but, if it comes up, talk about alternative ways characters could have solved a problem. Different things scare different children; it's not always possible to predict what will frighten a particular kid. Avoid scary programming that includes emotional intensity, separations of parents and kids, and parents and kids in peril. When kids do see something that scares them, the best comfort is reassurance that everyone is safe (plus a hug and a favorite toy).

Language. Preschoolers don't yet understand "bad" or hurtful words, but they learn the words they hear at an amazing rate -- which means they shouldn't be exposed to language you might not want them repeating.

Positive messages. Since preschoolers soak up everything they see and hear, look for media with pro-social messaging.

Positive role models. Look for adult characters who are dependable. Media that showcases diversity of ethnicity and experience helps little kids better understand the world around them. Since they'll imitate what they see, choose media that reinforces good behavior. Media with antisocial behavior isn't appropriate for this age.

And finally, check out our list of great first movies for kids.

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