For lots of toddler parents this suggestion may come too late. Once children have watched a number of films, I’m guessing it’d be tricky to offer a book version instead. However, if you’re still in that baby stage or like me have been super strict with screen time then maybe give the books a go first. Here’s why…
1) Develops early literacy skills. By reading longer texts such as the Disney stories, you are developing reading/listening stamina. Toddlers will start to recognise simple plot structures and hear that stories have a beginning, middle and end. Furthermore, they will begin to identify problems and resolutions.
2) Character identification: When you read a story before watching the animated version, children will have longer to look at the images of the characters. They will learn their names and quickly realise who are the goodies and baddies. This will help when it comes to watching as you’ll have less chance of confusion.
3) Preparation for peril: As a child I was terrified of the Lion King film. I found the stampede scene too scary to watch. Disney films also have some frightening villains, Cruella and Ursula to name but two. Watching a Disney film through your child’s eyes make you notice the dark moments more. By reading it first, I believe it takes away some tension. A 2D image of a pack of wolves is never going to be as scary as the animated version and this way they are prepared for them.
4) Greater chance of extended viewing: By building the excitement for watching the film, you are more likely guaranteed a longer viewing. Toddler’s attentions spans are notoriously short but when they know the story and characters they are gong to be more engaged and keen to watch it all. Win win as you might just get a few jobs done and a cuppa.
5) Bribery: Ideally we shouldn’t be bribing our children but hey it’s going to happen and sometimes when all else has failed it’s good to have something up your sleeve. Our recent bedtime stand off called for the big guns and so my girls have been earning screen time to watch one of the Disney films we’ve been reading. After a recent carboot haul of Disney books, we have been reading them lots and they are now super keen to watch the DVDs.
Which Disney films did you watch first with your toddlers?