Worried about what your tweens are watching? Don’t worry, there are tween-safe movies and shows that you can confidently let them watch on their own.
For some kids, summer vacation is just starting and for others, vacation is winding down. In both cases, there are still a number of long days ahead without school. Although we know it’s healthy for kids to be bored once in a while, sometimes we just need them busy and occupied for a couple of hours – so us parents can get other things (like work) done. If you have tweens (kids between 10 to 12 years old), a few hours of Netflix might just be what you need.
We’ve picked out a few of the best shows on Netflix that you can freely allow your tweens to watch, without having to worry that the content is too mature or inappropriate for them. They’ll also pick up a valuable life lesson or two from the themes and topics featured.
Movies for Tweens:
1. Finding O’hana
For parents who are old enough to remember family adventure movies like “The Goonies” or “Princess Bride”, this movie fits right into that category. It has all the elements of a fun adventure film – a tween finding a treasure map and going on an exciting hunt to help her family, all set in picturesque Hawaii. Your own tween will enjoy the exciting adventures in the movie and you’ll also like it because of the emphasis on family values.
2. My Octopus Teacher
We can’t say enough good things about this documentary. We loved it! From the beautiful scenery to the moving story, My Octopus Teacher should be a must-watch for all ages. Tweens who love animals, the ocean, and sea creatures will especially like this documentary. Younger tweens might find the start a little slow, but convince them to keep watching and your tween might just find a new appreciation for animals and the environment after.
3. We Can Be Heroes
This movie is a fun, feel-good movie for all ages. It’s also suitable for younger kids and tweens will still enjoy it too. If you have kids of different ages, this is a movie they can all watch together. From the makers of “Shark Boy and Lava Girl”, the movie starts off with parents being the superheroes and being in control. As the movie continues, it’s the kids who end up saving their superhero parents – an appealing storyline for all kids.
4. Enola Holmes
We’re all familiar with the detective Sherlock Holmes and this version focuses on his teenage niece Enola. This movie might be more suitable for slightly older tweens, about 11 and up, but this is a highly-entertaining mystery movie that you’ll also enjoy watching with your kids. We especially love the brave and intelligent Enola who shows young girls that they can also be smart and strong.
5. The Karate Kid
The 2010 version is a remake of the 80’s version, but with a 12-year-old hero instead of a 16-year-old. This makes it more appropriate for the tween demographic. Similar to the original version, the hero uses martial arts to learn about his own inner strength and resilience. Plus points for Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan’s very entertaining portrayals of their characters that make it a fun watch.
6. The Christmas Chronicles
Although these are Christmas-themed movies, “Christmas Chronicles” (there are 2 movies available) are entertaining and suitable for tweens and even for younger kids. There’s adventure, car chases, elves, time travel, singing, and of course, Santa Claus. It has all the elements of an entertaining holiday movie and we’re sure your kids will enjoy it too. Take note that there are a few mixed reviews online because of some slightly more adult language used and mentions of car-jacking, but we think that the good outweighs the bad in this series.
TV Shows for Tweens:
1. The Babysitter’s Club
Again, you might remember the book series “The Babysitter’s Club” from when you were a tween. The series revolves around young teen girls who run a successful babysitting business. Storylines involve current issues like divorce, gender identity, and racism. The episodes always end with the friends helping each other and doing their best to be positive role models for the kids they babysit.
2. The Healing Powers of Dude
This is a comedy series starring 11-year-old Noah who has social anxiety and has an emotional support dog named Dude. The show revolves around the challenges they face at school, with some comic relief (usually by Dude the dog) mixed in. Noah’s experiences emphasize courage and resilience which are always great themes for kids.
3. Rilakkuma and Kaoru
Rilakkuma and Kaoru is a stop-motion animation series that will appeal to both kids and adults alike. Kaoru is actually a working woman in her 20’s navigating life after college so it’s not as “kiddie” as it first seems. She has adorable pets that get into misadventures, which add to the cute factor of the show. The visuals are appealing for younger tweens while the topics of the show appeal more to older tweens.
4. The Floor is Lava
“The Floor is Lava” is a show everyone in the household can enjoy. A fun and easy-to-watch game show that features 2 teams competing against each other in an obstacle course with “lava” covering the floor. Both kids and parents will enjoy watching the competitors jump around and figure their way through the course without getting swallowed by the “lava”.
5. Alexa and Katie
This show revolves around the lives of two teen best friends, Alexa and Katie. They go through the usual dilemmas of young teens in school, but with the added layer of Alexa battling cancer. Kate’s support for Alexa and their friendship take center stage throughout the show. Other themes of the show include teenage awkwardness and learning to relate to peers – topics that all tweens will be able to relate to.
6. Project Mc2
We love that this show aims to encourage young girls to get into STEM – science, engineering, technology, and math. The four intelligent teen girls in the show are recruited to be secret agents. They all have their own strengths in the sciences, like chemistry and physics, but work well as a team and are also mentored by a strong female leader. Girl power!
We know that all parents have different rules regarding screen time and also varying opinions when it comes to what’s age-appropriate for their own children. The best scenario is to watch shows and movies together with your child, not just to know what they’re watching, but also to encourage open communication in case they have questions regarding a certain topic. The shows we mentioned above are safe for your tweens to watch on their own, but even better when watched as a family.