Snuggling up with your kids and watching a fabulous film together is one of the stand-out joys of being a parent. As well as that treasured cuddle time, today’s animated films offer exciting story lines, glorious graphics, triumphant sing-along songs and, best of all, essential life lessons young children can easily understand.
The stories may be wildly different, but the mantras to happiness have some common themes: accept yourself; treasure your friends; don’t be put off doing what you love by naysayers; practice makes perfect; being kind is a whole lot better than being mean (and you’ll get your just rewards)....
These eight films are ideal for early life lessons - and make great starting points for chatting with your children about how to be happy and make others happy.
Elsa in Frozen is a poster girl for embracing your own uniqueness (even if you don't have ice powers). When she tried to act like others for the sake of fitting in, she forgot who she really was.
Ratatouille can't help himself - he just loves cooking. The determined rodent shows everyone that a rat in the kitchen can whip up Michelin-starred meals. But he also shows you have to practice obsessively and refuse to take no for an answer, if you want to follow your dreams.
It's normal to be sad, happy, angry and even envious. No one can put a happy face on every day. But, as we learn in Inside Out, what matters is understanding why you feel that way and appreciating that times of sadness make us appreciate the happy times even more. And, of course, that friends can cheer you up.
If Nemo and his dad can find each other in a huge ocean, then anything is possible as long as you never give up. (And another life lesson - when your parents are being boringly overprotective, it might just be for a reason.)
Kung Fu Panda was dismissed as stupid, clumsy and overweight. But he became the Dragon Warrior, ridding himself of his self-doubt in the uphill struggle. Patience and perseverance pay off.
Warrior princess Mulan refuses to be dismissed as 'just a girl', proving that whatever men can do, women can do too. Go girls!
OK, scaring small children like Sully is a weird talent to build a career on, but there are endless possibilities and weird niches, so find what you're good at and pursue it. Two thirds of primary school children will be doing jobs that don't even exist now.