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Movies That Help Children Understand Grief

People process grief in hugely different ways. Dealing with and expressing grief can be especially challenging for children.

They are still learning the common ways of the world, including communication skills and how to best manage their emotions.

As a parent, conveying a family death to your child is no easy feat. You must configure your own emotions while being sensitive to your child’s while still finding ways to help the two of you cope with the loss.

Entertainment companies, such as Disney and DreamWorks, have produced countless films that tackle challenging topics with a kid-friendly lens.

Here are a few of our top picks for family-friendly movies that help children understand grief.

3 Movies That Help Children Understand Grief

Coco (Theatrical Version)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt (Actors)

Coco (2017)

Coco homes in on the importance of family and honoring the generations of family before you. Young Miguel is defiant of his family’s prohibition of music and yearns to showcase his talent.

During his mission to reclaim an instrument he believes to be a family heirloom, he’s transported to the Land of the Dead.

Here, he explores his musical passion and learns the truth about his family’s ancestral ban on music.

The Takeaway: Coco displays the afterlife in a new and vibrant manner.

It shares the idea that even though a loved one may pass, there are plenty of ways you can continue to honor their memory and celebrate the life they had.

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The Snowman
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • David Bowie, Raymond Briggs, Mel Smith (Actors)

The Snowman (1982)

An oldie, but a goodie, The Snowman duals as a holiday classic and a movie that helps children understand grief.

If your kids struggle to sit through a full-length film, you can rest assured that they’ll be able to sit tight for this 27-minute-long feature.

This animated short follows a young English boy and the snowman he creates on Christmas Eve. Once his snowman comes to life, they start their escapade to the North Pole to meet Santa Claus.

The Takeaway: This movie gently introduces the idea of mortality to young viewers. The titular character inevitably melts, presenting the idea that death, though sad, is a natural part of life.

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  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Actors)

Onward (2020)

Another Pixar treat, Onward follows elf brothers Ian and Barley Lightfoot on their quest to bring their dad back for one last day together.

Taking place in a fantasy world, this movie is packed with mythical creatures, cryptic maps, and challenging obstacles.

The Takeaway: Onward represents the importance of appreciating what you have before it’s gone and focusing on the things you can still appreciate when mourning a loss.

Over the duration of the film, the elven brothers realize they have one another to grow up with, in addition to the constant support of their strong-willed mother.

These movies make for a great family movie night.

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