Family Time: ‘Avatar’ OK for older kids

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Family Screening Room 


Rated: PG-13 (for intense epic battle sequences and warfare, sensuality, language and some smoking)

Length: 162 minutes

Synopsis: The newest film from James Cameron (“Titanic”) is set in the future on another planet. Jake, a paraplegic war veteran is brought to another planet, Pandora, which is inhabited by the Na'vi, a humanoid race with their own language and culture. Those from Earth find themselves at odds with each other and the local culture.

Violence/scary rating: 4

Sexual-content rating: 2

Profanity rating: 2.5

Drugs/alcohol rating: 3

Family Time rating: 3. As long as your kids can handle violence and tense moments (think “Star Wars”), they should be OK seeing this. It’s quite long, though, so keep that in mind.

(Ratings are judged on a five-point scale, with 5 being “bad for kids” and 1 being “fine for kids.”)

Tip of the Week offers parents these tips to help strengthen these important life skills in children:

- Optimism: Host a "savoring party." Invite some kids and their parents to your house and ask each to bring something for the group to savor. It could be food, a piece of music, art, clay, a kaleidoscope - almost anything that brings satisfaction and enjoyment. Place the items to be savored on the floor and provide paper and crayons. Ask each parent/child team to pick an item to savor and write down in five minutes as many words as they can think of to describe what they are savoring. At the end, give each team the opportunity to share their list.

- Emotional awareness: Create a feeling collage. Choose a feeling with your child and then help him or her find pictures from magazines, family photos, drawings or words that illustrate that feeling. Paste them on a piece of paper and post the collage on a wall in your home.

- Goal setting/hope: Create a "My Goal Road Map." Help your child choose a realistic, achievable goal. Print "My Goal Road Map" on a large sheet of paper and have your child write a specific sentence describing the goal beneath the title. Circle the sentence and decorate it so it is clear this is where your child wants to go. Write the word "start" in the bottom right-hand corner and draw a series of footprints between the word "start" and the goal in the upper left-hand corner. In each footprint, help your child write a short description of a step he or she can take toward reaching the goal.

- Resilience: Focus on praising not just your child's successes, but the process he or she followed to achieve success. For example, if they perform well on a test, instead of saying "You're so smart," try "You studied really hard for that test."

- Empowerment: Turn everyday activities into a mastering moment for your child. Choose activities like returning a library book or going to the market and give your child a job to do. For example, at the market have your child count all the yellow items in your basket. When cleaning up the play room, have your child pick up everything that is square or blue.

-- ARA

Book Report

“Never Smile at a Monkey: And 17 Other Important Things to Remember,” by Steve Jenkins

Ages: 4-8

Pages: 32

Synopsis: When it comes to wild animals, everyone knows that there are certain things you just don’t do. It's clearly a bad idea to tease a tiger, pull a python's tail or bother a black widow spider. But do you know how dangerous it can be to pet a platypus, collect a cone shell or touch a tang fish? Some creatures have developed unusual ways of protecting themselves or catching prey, and this can make them unexpectedly hazardous to your health. In this fascinating picture book by Steve Jenkins, you'll find out what you should never do if you encounter one of these surprisingly dangerous animals. This book was’s No. 1 book in the category of 2009 Picture Books.

Did You Know

According to, here are the most popular New Year’s resolutions. Did your family make any of these? Let us know what you resolved to do in 2010.

- Lose weight

- Manage debt

- Save money

- Get a better job

- Get fit

- Get a better education

- Drink less alcohol

- Quit smoking now

- Reduce stress overall

- Reduce stress at work

- Take a trip

- Volunteer to help others

GateHouse News Service