If you’re a parent who loves film, you probably want to pass that love on to your children. How can you do this in a way that sparks a passion for the medium rather than making them feel pressured about following in your footsteps? You may remember your own parents trying to make you love a hobby or pastime and having the opposite effect because they made it feel more like an obligation than something fun. The tips below can help you instill an appreciation for cinema into your offspring instead of pushing them away from it, however inadvertently.
The Adventure of Theater Going
Children are generally introduced to film through home viewings, but this can render them indistinguishable from TV shows and clips of videos. Taking them to the theater and making movie going an adventurous outing can set it apart. Your toddler might be too young to appreciate a trip to the local cinema and the requirement to sit still and quietly for 90 minutes or more, but kids who are just a little older may. Look for special screenings aimed at kids.
Keep in mind that while having some treats is part of the fun, too many can leave children feeling overstimulated. Taking some wet wipes to help keep their hands from getting sticky and perhaps a cushion to boost their seat. At the end, wait until everyone else has left to make exiting easier. This can also give you a chance to see the credits roll and talk about what they mean as well as catch any outtakes that are sometimes included here.
Watch Movies About Movies
Not all films about falling in love with cinema are kid appropriate, but some are. The 2011 movie Hugo, directed by Martin Scorsese, is adapted from a children’s book and is in part about George Melies, an earlier lover of film who could be said to have invented special effects. A Trip the Moon is referenced, and afterwards, you can watch that with your child online.
Another good choice is Super 8, which recalls with nostalgia the films of the 1980s and the thrill of making home movies with a Super 8 camera. Older kids may like Tim Burton’s Ed Wood, about the man remembered as the making the worst movies of all time. Teenagers might enjoy Cinema Paradiso, about a child’s friendship with a man who teachers him to love film as much as he does.
Support Their Ambition
If you do instill a love of film in your child, you might find that they are interested in pursuing a career in the industry. You might wonder whether this is something that you should encourage since it can be so difficult to succeed. Your child might resent this, however, and while it is difficult, it is not impossible. They can start by getting involved in local or school theater groups.
If your child remains steadfast in their ambitions, you might want to encourage them to attend college so that they can study drama and theater as well as pick up some practical skills. Having a degree in any area of study is good insurance in case the career in film never takes off since many companies require it even for entry-level jobs. Whatever your child decides to study, they may need to take out private student loans to supplement other funding sources, such as scholarships. There is a good chance they will need a cosigner for these loans, and you may be able to do that. However, you should find out what your obligations will be. You can review a guide that explains your rights and responsibilities if you decide to do this.
Talking About It
Talking about cinema is another great way to help your child fall in love with it, but it’s important that you don’t do all the talking. In fact, it might be best for you to do more listening than talking. Ask your child questions that will give them the opportunity to say what they think about various movies. Give them the chance to ask you questions as well but beware of droning on and on about the topic. It can be tough to rein in the urge to educate them as thoroughly as possible but remember that you are trying to make this something they love and wait until they invite you to share information.
As a family, you can also play movie-related board games. These can be games based on specific movies or they can be trivia games. Finally, consider a project where you curate a selection of films over a weekend or another period. You could choose three or four films from a certain category and watch and learn about them together. Choosing movies that you haven’t seen either puts you on a more even footing instead of being the person who always knows more, and this can make the activity more enticing for your kid.