Having your child's favorite shows and movies on a tablet in can make a huge difference in helping them keep calm and stay close to you during emergency situations and other chaotic events that can cause anxiety for your child such as moving to a new home, power outages, travelling and more. For children and adults with special needs who thrive on structure and routines, having familiar movies can be a welcome escape. This is especially true for emergency situations which alter the landscape such as a house fire, hurricane, earthquake and other natural disasters. Having new and familiar movies to watch can give them a feeling of normalcy to hold on to.
We counted down our top 8 favorite children's movies that are in a series from the giant of home streaming services, Netflix. The reason why we chose Netflix is because they have a wide variety of movies that can be downloaded on to a mobile device such as a phone or tablet which can be viewed at a later time without an internet connection. Movies that are sequels, trilogies, and for that matter keep going are excellent to keep someone with special needs calmer for a longer duration of time such as when the caregiver needs to recharge right up to needing to shield someone with special needs from events happening around them until they can get to a safe area such as a natural disaster.
We kept a few guidelines in mind when creating this list:
1) While conflict is expected, action sequences in the film must not be exceptionally violent in a way that may potentially trigger a child's anxiety since chaotic events may already be happening around them.
2) We made our list for children and those with a mental capacity between ages 4-13. That being said, we're guilty of enjoying many of the movies on this list and know you will too.
3) Every movie on this list has at least one sequel. Many people with autism and others who can be fixated on a story will appreciate being able to see their favorite characters and more of the story line additional films and sequels. We have a separate list of movies without sequels.
Here are the top 8 SNEP approved children's movies with sequels for your special needs child
1. Back to the Future (1985, 1989, 1990)
Follow high school time traveller Marty McFly as he cruises both past and future in a DeLorean along with scientist Emmett 'Doc' Brown. This retro classic is perfect for the whole family.
2. How to Train Your Dragon (2010, 2014, 2019)
Loosely based on a book series with the same name, How to Train Your Dragon follows a young boy named Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, son of Stoick the Vast, leader of the Viking island of Berk, or Hiccup for short who is seen by his community as a misfit becomes an expert in dragons.
2. Shrek (2001, 2004, 2007, 2010) plus spin-offs
Shrek is a grumpy ogre who lives in a swap that's part of an intricate world of magical and storybook creatures. He's thrust into many journey's, befriending a talking donkey and princess along the way. With many sequels and spin-offs available, Shrek will capture your attention for a long duration of time.
3. Kung Fu Panda (2008, 2011, 2016) plus spin-offs
A misfit panda named Po works in his fathers noodle shop and is set to become a noodlemaker himself, however, he has dreams of becoming a ninja warrior like his idols the Furious Five. Follow his journey to becoming the Dragon Warrior and the challenges he faces.
4. Cars (2006, 2011, 2017)
A hotshot race car named Lightening McQueen detours into a small town called Radiator Springs and finds friends along the way. The Cars films follow the journey with his friends as well as his fame as a famous racing car.
5. Madagascar (2005, 2008, 2012)
Madagascar tells the story of four Central Park Zoo animals: Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe, and Gloria the Hippo. After spending their entire lives comfortable in captivity at the Central Park Zoo they're unexpectedly shipwrecked on the island of Madagascar.
6. Hotel Transylvania (2012, 2015, 2018) – 2018 version is currently unavailable on Netflix
In 1895, in the aftermath of the death of his wife Martha at the hands of an angry human mob, Count Dracula commissions and builds a massive five-star, monsters-only which he names Hotel Transylvania which he raises his daughter Mavis. A lost hiker finds his way to the motel named Jonathan. The now grown Mavis falls in love with Jonathan. Due to his mistrust in humans, Dracula does his best to keep the two apart and protect his daughter.
7. Wallace and Gromit (1989, 1993, 1995, 2005, 2008)
A quirky British clay animation comedy about the adventures of an older man named Wallace and his dog Gromit. The series has more of a relaxed tone than other movies which works well if you want to avoid overstimulating your special needs individual.
8. A Christmas Prince (2017, 2018)
This family friendly romantic comedy follows a young journalist who is sent abroad to get the scoop on a handsome prince whose about to inherit the thrown and become King.
Author: Giada Crosbie
Find out more about Giada and the SNEP team here.