The lights are dim. You have a big bowl of popcorn on your lap. The kids are cuddled up to you on the couch. It’s family movie night!
Oh how I love a good family movie. As a certified emotion coach, I’m a sucker for anything related to teaching kids about emotions, so when I first saw a trailer for The Emoji Movie, I was intrigued. Here are five of my favourite lessons on emotions that both parents and kids can learn from seeing The Emoji Movie.
1. Emotions are vital to communication.
Emojis are a huge part of online communication in our modern day world, therefore the Emoji characters in the movie see their job as being of the utmost importance. Watching The Emoji Movie storyline develop gets viewers thinking about the different feelings we have, how we express them, and how our emotions influence communication.
2. It’s not normal for anyone to feel one emotion all the time.
The Emoji Movie shows kids that it’s not normal to expect someone to feel one emotion all the time, and it’s okay for everyone to have different feelings throughout the day. The storyline of the movie is based around how the main character Gene didn’t want to be “meh” (AKA nonchalant) about everything. And I love how this film doesn’t let us be fooled into thinking unwavering happiness is a goal to aspire to either. The most smiley, happy emoji actually turned out to be a villain.
3. Every person feels emotions, even if they don’t always show.
One of my favourite scenes in the movie was when Gene’s parents recognised their range of emotions. This reminds young and old viewers alike that adults have many emotions too, even if they don’t show them all the time. Sometimes people bury their emotions because they feel ashamed or unsure about how to express themselves. The Emoji Movie reminds us that this isn’t the best idea.
4. It’s cool to express yourself.
Becoming confident in expressing yourself is the main takeaway message from the film. Jailbreak tells Gene that she likes that he can express his feelings and furthermore the “Emoji Bop” (a dance Gene made up which is featured several times during the movie) is a celebration of expressing yourself.
5. The internet is full of emotions.
There were a lot of subtle lessons regarding internet usage throughout The Emoji Movie. For example, a character commented that Facebook is a world where all that matters is popularity instead of true friendship. This choice of reality was rejected by Gene in a later scene. What a wonderful discussion starter this is for tweens and pre-tweens who are already using or aware of social media. The movie also opens up conversation around various internet terminologies such as viruses, spam, hackers and more.
Simply watching a film with characters based on emotions is an easy exercise in emotional intelligence. Utilising the teachable moments from the film can make your movie night even more worthwhile. Here are some simple questions you can ask your kids after viewing the film together, to get the conversation flowing:
Who was your favourite character? What feeling were they supposed to represent in the movie?
Were the characters happy about having to portray one emotion all the time? Why was that?
What do you think Gene and all the other emojis learned?
What did you think about Emoji life on the phone? Does it seem like something you’d want to be a part of?
Were there any parts of the film that you didn’t understand?
To help your kids understand more about different emotions, check out my DIY emotion cards with 10+ games for kids of all ages.