Best Movies To Build Character

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In order to give parents actionable advice around how movies and film can impact child development, we asked our followers on Instagram to tell us what parenting struggles they dealt with.

We took the most common answers and put together this guide, focusing on how you can use kids movies to help you develop your child’s character!

Learn more about the following topics:

  • Body image
  • Confidence
  • Friendships/relationships
  • Intro/extroversion

Body image

49.14% of the parents indicated that they observed their child(ren) having distorted body images.

Self-image and body positivity is a really important trait for children, and at the same time it can be something a lot of kids struggle with while growing up. Many movies idealise attractiveness, but there are some movies that can help kids understand that they don’t need to fit these expectations and help promote their own body positivity.

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Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

While not specifically made for kids, it can still be appropriate for older children (12+), telling the story of a girl who doesn’t fit society’s standards of beauty but wins over everyone simply by being true to herself.

Mulan (1998)

While Mulan isn’t thought of as a classic example of body positivity, there are themes that help portray this. Mulan becomes the savior of China, showing kids that they aren’t defined by their gender or body. While at first, Mulan is ashamed of her body, she eventually accepts the differences and is accepted by the emperor and the people she saved for who she is.

The key to raising body positive children

One great way to promote body positivity is to lead by example. Being positive about your own body can help children understand and model similar behaviour. Another tip, although it may seem strange, but not complimenting children for their outward appearance can be beneficial. It can be positive to their own body image to focus more on their character and accomplishments as opposed to their appearance (which they may have little control over).



42.31% of participants stated that confidence was their most talked about parenting topic

For many children, feeling like they aren’t good enough is a common theme, and clearly it is something that parents believe is important. While growing up, kids come across plenty of challenges that may make them doubt themselves or lose confidence. Luckily, there are plenty of ways parents can help support their kids and boost their self esteem and confidence. More specifically, among these ways, movies can be used as a helpful tool to model confidence. Take a look at some kids movies that can help provide good examples of being confident with your own abilities.

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Harry Potter (2001)

Throughout Harry Potter, Hermione demonstrates her self confidence. Although she isn’t initially accepted for it, her belief in herself and her knowledge saves the day over and over, and displays the value of confidence!

Sing (2016)

Sing! It shows a multitude of characters with different levels of confidence, at the end it shows how even the most nervous, shy characters can be confident and successful!

The key to raising self-confident children

One way to promote confidence in children is to help them actively participate in confidence building activities. This can take on many forms, but a simple and beneficial example is to encourage them to think of three compliments for themselves daily. This will push them to accept their strengths and acknowledge their own positive traits!

Children’s friendships and relationships


30% of parents who responded indicated that friendships and relationships were their most discussed parenting value. 

Developing and maintaining friendships and meaningful relationships is a key aspect of healthy social development for kids. Having healthy relationships helps build bonds between family and friends, especially as children grow older and friendships play an increasingly important role. Luckily, friendships play a key role in many kids movies, so there are enough examples to use to model healthy friendships and relationships for kids.

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Charlotte’s Web (2006)

Charlotte’s Web shows the difficulties of leaving old friends and making new ones as Wilbur has to leave his old farm and adapt to a new environment, forging new friendships. It shows the value of true friendship, standing up for one another and celebrating friends.

Lion King (1994)

Simba, Timon, and Pumba! The Lion King masters a portrayal of healthy friendships, showing that people, no matter how similar or different, can be friends, work together, and support each other.

The key to building relationships

The most important tip (similar to body positivity) is to model positive, healthy friendships and relationships. By being a good friend to others, they learn that this behaviour is normal and emulate it as they grow older.



There are plenty of kids and adults who display more introverted or extroverted personality traits, and even more that fall on the spectrum between. The first thing to note is that neither trait is a good or bad thing. It is important that kids know it’s okay to be more introverted or more extroverted. Luckily, there are several movies that help portray this, focusing on being yourself above forcing yourself to be more introverted or extroverted. Here are some of the best examples.

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How to train your dragon (2010)

How to train your dragon follows a young Viking, Hiccup, going on a quest to slay his first dragon. Instead he becomes best friends with the dragon! Hiccup’s character differs significantly from the ‘typical’, boisterous Viking portrayed in the story. He shows many introverted traits, being quiet and shy, and not so fond of battle. But at the end of the day, being his own introverted-leaning self helped Hiccup be the hero of the town!

Inside out (2015)

Inside Out is a great film to use as a tool to discuss feelings with kids. The director even struggled with emotions as a child, which resulted in him being socially isolated during his childhood. He wanted to help other kids who may have the same struggles he had, and he successfully crafted a beautiful film, which explains the impact of emotions.

The key to helping children accept their character

When thinking about whether your child is extroverted or introverted, the most important aspect of parenting is to support them and accept them as they are. Introversion shouldn’t be viewed as a problem, nor should extroversion be seen as a character asset or goal.

Hopefully you now have an idea of how to harness movies to help your kids understand some of the above topics. Interested in learning more about just how movies can impact kids? Check out this article where we asked the experts, “How movies can impact a child’s development“,


Babysits is a platform where parents and babysitters across New Zealand can get in touch and coordinate childcare. It was founded in 2008 by Peter van Soldt, who was motivated by the belief that a truly good childcare platform gives a meaningful solution which simplifies everyday struggles for parents. Babysits is dedicated to empowering communities around childcare, giving parents, babysitters and childcare providers the transparency and authority to make their own, informed decisions regarding childcare.

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