For starters, if you want to know my stance on TV viewing for little ones, check out My Thoughts on TV. Plus, it’s got some good resources and ideas regarding guidelines for TV and technology.
I don’t have time for watching much TV otherwise, so one day, wanting a break from Mickey and pals (seriously, the hot dog song does not need to be in my head anymore, like ever), I opened up Netflix and up popped “Trending Now” and a cute, colorful image for the movie Trolls by Dreamworks. I recalled how the Pre-K and Kindergarten scholars I had most recently worked with had raved about it, vaguely remembered watching Justin Timberlake’s performance of the hit song at some award show, and was intrigued by the all-star cast.
Thus began our Trolls obsession… You know how kids want to watch the same movie over and over again until they know every line? Well, I wanted to watch it just as much. Hell, I want to watch it now. I seriously don’t know who loves this movie more. (Ok, maybe I do.) Here’s why.
1. The animation is a delightful, 3-D, colorful, feast for the eyes. There is so much depth to it, that even on an outdated TV, you’ll be feeling like you can almost touch the happy critters and their whimsical felt world.
2. Anytime my toddler is upset in the car, the Trolls soundtrack will save us all, even during a highly stressful situation like a hurricane evacuation. Justin Timberlake, executive music producer, gifted us a wonderful soundtrack, with little bits of everything both new and old. And the cast does a great job. Love me some JT, Anna K, and Zooey D!
3. Your kiddo might randomly and oh-so-cutely declare “I DO taste delicious!” Permission to gobble him up, right? In kisses, I mean.
4. When I try stealing away for 5 seconds just to pee, my cutie runs in saying “Hello! Is it ME you’re looking for?” Can’t even be mad.
5. If I say “Ding!” it is officially “Hug Time” and he will gleefully oblige. In contrast, if I were to just ask for a hug, there’s a 50/50 chance he’ll just show me toddlertude.
6. Big boy quoting Poppy’s ever-positive “All right! Let’s DO this!” at different times of the day: heading out, time to pee, helping with the laundry, time to feed the doggies. I love that can do attitude!
7. The key message of Trolls are words we can all live by, and should basically be the motto for many addiction anonymous groups.
8. “Come on [insert name other than Smidge], I know you can do it!” heard around my house is the sweetest thing, whether it’s to himself, “his” babies, or to his toys. But to himself, y’all, thats pretty complex.
Teacher friends recognize that as private speech or self-talk for dealing with big emotions like doubt or frustration. That’s kind of a big deal in regulating one’s emotions at two years old, or ever.
9. Which brings me to that “Get Back Up Again” song. It’s full of self-talk children can internalize to face every day frustrations. “If something goes a little wrong, well you can go ahead and bring it on!”
Heaven knows lots of things go wrong in a toddler’s eyes: a peer or sibling messes with their stuff, a Lego construction falls over, a toy train falls off the tracks, we announce it’s time for lunch, they don’t make it to the bathroom in time, they fall for no apparent reason… It’s hard work being a toddler!
We are REALLY working on being okay with these kind of mishaps, and whatever Poppy says is WAY cooler than anything I could say to help calm him down. I’ll never be as cool as Poppy.
10. [Spoiler Alert] My most favorite thing about Trolls is my toddler’s reaction to the scene when Poppy is so sad she turns grey. The first time we saw this, he showed such raw emotion and concern for why she was so sad. This spurred a wonderful ongoing discussion about feelings, what makes people sad or “feel gray”, and what can cheer or “brighten” them up.
I credit this scene and our discussion for something truly heartwarming… when his babies start crying, Aman sings to them. Without any prompting. And, with such a sweet, tender voice. Because, that’s what Branch does with his tender rendition of “True Colors”.
So, seriously, if you haven’t already, grab some tissues and watch Trolls with your little one. And if you’ve put it on but never really interacted or had deeper discussion with your child about it, please do so. It will be funny, cute, and, oh so, heartwarming.