Parenting can be a full-time job and, even if it makes you feel guilty, it is sometimes necessary to plunk the kids down in front of the TV in order to get a few minutes peace. Or you might drop them off at the local multiplex for a few hours so that you and your partner can have a normal conversation that progresses more than 30 seconds without an interruption.
However, there are so many movies out there, it can be tough to know what is right for your child. The MPAA ratings system can help in turns of gauging the content, but not necessarily the quality. THE LEGO MOVIE was a genuine surprise: fast, smart, and funny for both adults and children. On the other end of the scale is THE EMOJI MOVIE (opening today), a ghastly, completely unfunny mess that displays no imagination, talent, or effort.
Reviews can help. Some critics are also parents and keep that in mind when they are evaluating movies. Knowing what does and does not work for most children is certainly important when writing about cinema aimed at that demographic. Are there any critics that you find to be especially good in this area? Follow them.
Try to watch some movies with your children and observe how they react to them. If the latest PG-13 superhero movie is too intense for your young ones, try to pick something similar, but less violent and frightening. If your child is too young to distinguish fantasy from reality, then anything that is PG-13 should be avoided for now.
Also, have a conversation with them. Find out what movies they liked and what it was that they liked about them. This will not only give you an idea of what to go for in future, but also what to avoid.