Many pediatricians have said that Disney’s Doc McStuffins helped decrease children’s fear of the doctor’s office. As a psychologist and a parent, my hope is that Inside Out will help children have relatable characters for talking about their emotions.
As a society, we typically provide minimal education for children about emotions and even less for parents on how to talk to their children about emotions.
Inside Out centers on understanding the functions of emotions in a very creative way. Each emotion is a character with its own personality and viewpoint that children can easily identify with. The movie easily serves as a starting point for parents and kids to talk about feelings and identify healthy ways to cope.
As in all Pixar films, merchandise precedes the movie’s release. Walk into your local Disney store and you’ll see the gigantic Inside Out display. Unlike most merchandise in the past, it isn’t just coloring book, stuffed animals and story books (although those do exist). There are journals that provide creative ways to write about feelings and storybooks to help parents and kids understand and discuss emotions. Prior to the release of the movie, finding an emotion-focused book or activity journal for children would be nearly impossible. Now, these books are available at your local Disney store.
Here is my Top 3 list of Inside Out products:
- The Emotions In Charge Today book set. This set contains 5 books on each emotion. What I love about each book is that it describes each emotion and its’ positive and negative aspects. For example, Anger shares how he sometimes ends up in “time out,” but also helps score a winning goal and stand up for himself. It also discusses how one emotion (e.g., sadness) can lead to another emotion (e.g., anger).
- Inside Out Book of Secrets: This journal is a creative way for kids to work towards understanding and identifying their emotions. Activities encourage them to write down happy memories, keep track of their goals and learn more about their likes and dislikes.
- Inside My Mind: A Book About Me. This book contains several activities that help the reader understand more about themselves and the role their emotions play in their life. For example, there’s an activity that allows the reader to describe their personality now and what they hope it to be. There’s a section to write down scary moments, sad moments and happy moments. One of the more creative parts of the book is when it encourages the reader to create a picture of what they feel like their own emotions that live inside their head may look like.
While these are great resources, there is also an opportunity for so much more. Games that would help children identify ways to cope with emotions would be a great addition. A guidebook for parents on how to talk to their children about emotions would be beneficial. Disney is off to a great start. Hopefully, with a successful release, it will lead to a greater variety of products allowing parents and children to learn ways to discuss emotions in a healthy way.