Movies & TV Shows for Highly Sensitive Children – Parent & Kid Approved

It’s not always easy finding a movie or TV show that doesn’t negatively impact a highly sensitive child. From years of advice passed from parents in the Happy Sensitive Kids Community here’s a list of movies and shows that have passed the highly sensitive kids test.

Please remember that each child is different and reacts differently to scenes in shows and movies – you know your own child best when it comes to suitable viewing material.

Movies & TV Shows for Highly Sensitive Children - Parent & Kid Approved

It is also worth noting that watching a movie in the cinema is a more intense experience for HSCs than watching at home. Here’s more on making it a successful trip to the movie theatre with a HSC: 7 Tips to Make a Highly Sensitive Child’s First Trip to the Cinema a Success.

TV Shows for Younger Children

Kipper the Dog

Clifford the Big Red Dog


Peppa Pig

The Octonauts

Gummie Bears

Little Bear

Go Jetters

Paw Patrol

Thomas the Tank Engine: Mine are now a bit old for Thomas but when they were little Thomas was a huge hit, in particular the films, which were played over and over.

The Magic School Bus - parent approved for highly sensitive children

The Magic School Bus: Emmy award winning educational series

Winnie the Pooh: A loveable classic that is as innocent as it gets on TV, if you accept that Pooh Bear thinks it wise to wear a T-shirt but no pants…….

Story Bots


Puffin Rock

Doc McStuffins

Bob the Builder

Super Wings

Justin Time 

Harry and His Bucket Full of Dinosaurs 

Go Diego Go



Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood

Nature Cats

TV Shows for Older Children

LEGO series: Huge hits with my three sons (ages 6, 8 and 11). The Lego Ninjago series is a particular favourite.

Factual Programs

Sending Mit Der Maus: German series

Checkpoint: Dutch program which my three boys LOVE. There’s lots of crazy experiments and tests done, resulting in lots of explosions and things being blown up. A real hit. Aimed at children 9-12 but my 6 and 8 year old are as immersed in it as their elder brother.

Klokhuis: Dutch program on NPO Zapp explaining why and how on a wide range of topics.

Movies for Children

The Aristocats

Toy Story: Some children may find Sid and his mutilated toys scary in the first Toy Story. I would put a caution warning on Toy Story 3 for younger children. In the Netherlands Toy Story is rated an AL, which means suitable for all ages. However the UK rates as a PG, which means parental guidance is advisable.

Storks: There is peril in this film but there is always a safe ending.

Boss Baby: Recommended for 6 and over, with some potentially scary scenes when one character imagines looming figures. Humour is probably more for older children and is about sibling rivalry.

The Secret Life of Pets: The animals in this movie are in peril. Common sense media states suitable for children 7-10, depending on whether you believe the kids or the parents.

Stuart Little: For kids aged 5 or 6 up, with small amounts of peril (Stuart is a mouse who is regularly chased by a cat).

Yogi Bear

Mary Poppins: An oldie but my goodness a goodie. Still trying to convince my sons to give this classic a go……

The Sound of Music: Watch out in the last ten minutes as some HSCs might find it too much.

Robin Hood (Disney)

My Neighbour Totoro

Sing: Contains characters in peril, but in general a fun, song filled movie for kids aged 6 up. My three have watched this a couple of times – and love the music.

Moomins on the Riviera

Cars: These movies can be loud, there is name calling in the first movie and the action is fast paced. Watch out for car crashes, the part where Lightening gets lost and another scene they are chased by Frank – all potential wobble moments for HSCs. In general though, my kids have loved all three of the Cars movies. Cars 2 is probably best left for older children – there’s a ‘torture’ scene at the beginning for a start and a fair bit of shooting and peril.

The Land Before Time: note that there are some sad scenes, young dinosaurs are chased by predators and natural disasters feature.

Given: This is about a family exploring different cultures.

Inside Out: A movie about big emotions and one that is possibly too complex for really young viewers. Aged 7 or 8 upwards is a good guide.

Movies and TV Shows Parent and Kid Approved for Highly Sensitive Children

Despicable Me Films: Massive hits in our house. The minions are loved and my children often make lots of random minion noises…… 6+ rating but take care with adopted children watching the first movie. The second movie carries a HSC parent warning too – the minion turn into frenzied purple minions, which can be a bit scary for younger children.

Movies for Older Children (12+)

Star Wars: There is a great age by age guide on Common Sense Media for Star Wars fans.

The Hobbit: Rated as PG 13 though Common Sense Media states 11 as an appropriate viewing age. There’s violence and scary scenes so very child dependent.

Men in Black: A movie for tweens, but again violence and scary scenes so you are the best judge if it is something for your 12/13 year old.

Films That We Had to Switch Off and Try Again a Few Years Later…..

For what it’s worth we have had a few mishaps over the years, films we started but had to cut short as they were too scary, too intense, too emotional……. Often as a year or more go by it’s worth trying again. And as I have said more than once in this post: every child is different. One of my sons has found something way too much whilst his younger brother is totally unfazed. It’s a learning process!

How the Grinch Stole Christmas: the Grinch freaked my eldest two out the first time we picked this film as the family Christmas movie. A year later they loved it.

The Boxtrolls: we recently watched this and it was enjoyed by all but we did try this previously and switched it off. Lots of scenes set at night, characters in peril, scary looking villains.

Pete’s Dragon (2016 remake version)

Evergreen List – Add Your Suggestions

This list will be continually updated and added to. If you have comments on any of the shows or movies listed here please let me know in the comments. If your HSC loves a movie or TV program that is not listed then get in touch and I will add it. Together we can create the ultimate HSC friendly list!

Posted in Resources, The How | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Electronic Devices and the Highly Sensitive Child

Electronic devices and their effects on children are a concern for many parents, not just those of highly sensitive children (HSC). As parents we are aware that we are raising children in the digital age. Electronic devices and gaming systems are unavoidable; they are a fact of life. But what impact are electronic devices having on our HSCs? Are they an appropriate tool to help a HSC empty their bucket when they need time out?

Electronic Devices and the Highly Sensitive Child

Does Screen Time Calm Highly Sensitive Children or Fill Their Buckets?

Continue reading

Posted in The What | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Highly Sensitive Children Don’t Fit the Mould – And They Shouldn’t Have To

Many highly sensitive children don’t behave like other children and certainly don’t always meet society’s expectations of them. Coming up with creative compromises that play to a highly sensitive child’s (HSC) strengths is a large part of parenting a HSC. And it’s an essential element of raising a child that is happy and confident with who they are.

Highly Sensitive Children Don't Fit the Mould - And They Shouldn't Have ToModern Day Childhood

These days children are under pressure to do as many outside school activities as possible to give them a step up for their future. Children, particularly boys, are expected to enjoy team sports. Continue reading

Posted in The How, The What, The Why | 2 Comments

Why Movies and Television Shows Affect a Highly Sensitive Child

Finding appropriate movies or TV shows to let a highly sensitive child (HSC) watch is a common problem for parents of HSCs. Often a HSC will find a movie too frightening or emotional to be able to enjoy it, resulting in tears and a half watched show. There’s a reason why.

Why Movies and Television Shows Affect a Highly Sensitive Child

Films & TV Shows Are a Common Problem for HSCs

If I had a euro for every time I had to cut short a TV program or a film over the years whilst my three sons were watching I would have a bulging purse.

Continue reading

Posted in The What, The Why | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Helping a Highly Sensitive Child Understand Their Emotions

As the parent of a highly sensitive child you are likely used to regular meltdowns and bursts of frustration from your child. You are also likely used to hearing “I don’t know” when you ask what is wrong. Helping a child understand their emotions will help them put their feelings into words, and in turn help them express them in less a dramatic manner.

Helping a Highly Sensitive Child Understand Their EmotionsWhy Children Need Help Recognising Emotions

My two youngest children recently had a student teacher helping out in their class. He taught a few lessons on the topic of emotions, using emoticons to help the children understand their feelings and which emotions belong with certain facial expressions.

Understanding visual cues of emotions is something that we, as adults, almost take for granted – particularly highly sensitive adults who read emotions well. We can recognise then someone feels angry, or worried, or upset or happy. But for children it can be extremely confusing to understand visual signals for different emotions.

At least that is what I came to realise when my 7 year old told me about what he had learned in one of the lessons about emotions. They were shown different emoticons and had to link emotions to each one – and then draw their own. It was insightful not just for my son, but for me too.

My seven year old is a master at uttering “I don’t know” when he is clearly overwhelmed, angry or upset and asked to try and explain what he is feeling.

I had spent a fair bit of time using emoticon cards I had made with my eldest, but I hadn’t done the same with my two youngest. And so that’s now on the agenda.

A HSC and Intense Emotions

A highly sensitive child is often scared or surprised by their own intense reaction to something. My children sometimes react with a fiery anger to a situation that seems decidedly low key or harmless – it is a shocking response to say the least.

If I start scratching below the surface there is a host of emotions at play, battling for top spot: tired, scared, fear of doing something because it seems too difficult, sad, confused, embarrassed, too busy in their head with the day’s events. But all those emotions, especially when they are mixed together, are hard for a young child to identify, label and understand.

Using Emotion Cue Cards

Using cue cards can clarify emotions for a child and help them understand what they are feeling. And that can help a child process their emotions more effectively instead of hitting out, slamming a door or screaming in frustration. They are more able to link how they are feeling to a specific event or series of incidents.

If you are on Pinterest there are a few links on my Highly Sensitive Board to help make your own emotion cue cards.

Naming an Emotion Helps

A common example in our home is when my husband has to go on a business trip. I brace myself for days or weeks that are more stormy than others as far as the emotions of my sons go. There will be inexplicable outbursts and tears where it seems to the boys that nothing goes right – until I suggest that maybe they are missing their papa. The penny drops and they can give their emotion a name and understand why they feel sad. A call or a FaceTime session later with papa and they feel calmer and happier.

Incidentally the film Inside Out is a great movie for discussing emotions.


Final Words

Incidentally, the student teacher said his farewells to the class – and my son made him this:

Help a Highly Sensitive Child understand their Emotions

A job well done by the student teacher wouldn’t you say?

Posted in The How, The Why | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Importance of Routines for Highly Sensitive Children

Having a routine in place helps most children cope more easily with day to day life, but for a highly sensitive child (HSC) it is even more important to have familiar routines in place to help them visualise what is coming up and what they need to do.

Why are Routines Important for a Highly Sensitive Child?

Ever notice that your HSC seems to be more overwhelmed than normal by their school days around Christmas?

Have you noticed the impact of an upcoming holiday has on your HSC? Or a birthday, or school trip?

The Importance of Routines for Highly Sensitive ChildrenDo you see a negative reaction from your HSC as they enter their classroom and there’s a replacement teacher standing in front of the class?

Things out of the ordinary routine tend to affect HSCs in a notable and visible way. When life deviates from the routine that they are comfortable with, and expect, it has an impact.

Continue reading

Posted in HS Tools, The How, The What | 1 Comment

Village or Town – Which is Best for a Highly Sensitive Child?

A rural village or a busy town? Does it matter where a highly sensitive child (HSC) grows up? It’s important to consider the role their living environment plays in daily life.

It was a question posed in the Happy Sensitive Kids community – do HSCs cope better with village life than living in a big town? Some people are clearly city folk, others prefer a more rural setting. It’s a topic I have personal experience of as I have parented HSCs in both environments.

Moving to a Village

Last summer we moved from a town with a population of around 125,000 to a village of 750 people, give or take a few. We moved from one of the most densely populated provinces of the Netherlands to one of the least. We moved out of a built up area to a rural community.

Has it made a difference for my three HSCs?

In short, yes.

Village or Town - Which is Best for a Highly Sensitive Child?Has it been the miracle answer that made life perfect?

Of course not. Continue reading

Posted in The What | Tagged , , | Leave a comment