Introducing death to the curious child part 2

Welcome back to part two of the series. RIP Chip.

If you’re a parent who’s anti-screens (I respect the heck out of you!), but read no more. For those who are pro-pages, check out my picture book selections for introducing death.

When looking for kid-friendly movies, your Disney/Pixar home library is a fantastic starting place. From Bambi’s mother getting shot, Mufasa being hurled into a stampede, to Nemo’s mother getting eaten by a barracuda, there’s no shortage of Disney death scenes.

According to a University of Buffalo study published in the Journal of Death and Dying, watching movies with death scenes plays an important role in starting conversations about death with your children. Researchers watched 57 Disney and Pixar films and counted 71 character deaths. Whoa. Surprisingly characters from children’s movies are twice as likely to die than characters from adult movies.

Watching traumatic death scenes have been found to be beneficial to little ones. Films can help our children learn about death in a non threatening way. Such scenes either explicit, directly presented on screen, or implicit, happening offscreen or suggested, make the subject a little less taboo.

man holding remote control
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Disney and Pixar Movies About Death*

*There are many more insightful movies dealing with death (e.g. Corrina, Corrina (1994), not a Disney movie, but a favorite of mine as a child), but I’m only listing a few Disney/Pixar films so as not to be overwhelming.

Early Childhood (ages 4-7)

  • Bambi (1942): after the death of his mother, a young deer joins his friends in exploring his forest home – learning the world is a tragic but beautiful place
  • The Lion King (1994): Simba, the next king, goes into exile, following his father’s death
  • Finding Nemo (2003): A widowed clownfish chases his son around the world
  • Up (2009): A widow and boy become unlikely companions on the adventure of a lifetime

Middle Childhood (ages 8-12)

  • Old Yeller (1957): a classic about the love and loss of a pet dog
  • Bridge to Terabithia (2007): based on the book, this magical story is about losing a friend

The above films can be enjoyed by your older children as well, adolescents (ages 13-18), and you.

flowers marguerites destroyed dead
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A Final Thought – From the Pillow

BIG D little d, what begins with D? Disney films and death scenes. D…d…D! Who would’ve thought the two go together?

So don’t feel guilty about a little screen time, especially if it’s a Disney or Pixar film. Science will back you up on this one!

What other movies would you add to the list?

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