Movies to Nuture Kindness, Compassion and Empathy in Kids

By Ann Echols
June, 2024


A recent article from Cal. Berkeley’s Greater Good newsletter prompted offering these resources

(see: Point 3 in this short read says: “Get inspired. While your child is feeling this emotion that has changed their perspective, you can invite them to consider how they can make an impact in the world to help others. For example, when they feel a sense of connection to something bigger than themselves, they might want to engage in small acts of care for nature—like conscientiously turning off the lights in an empty room—or for people—like organizing a school supply drive to make back-to-school kits for refugee children.”

Here are some places to find movies that you can find on Netflix, or Hulu, or PBS that can help inspire kids to nurture kindness, compassion, and giving back.

20 Movies to Inspire Kids to Give Back

  • There are so many ways to teach children important lessons of kindness, empathy, caring, helping others, and more. They probably learn some of those skills at school, others from their parents, maybe some of them at church if they go, and even movies can teach kids to give back to their communities and the people around them. 


    50 Movies to Help You Raise a Kind Kid

  • Developing character strengths is essential to kids' overall growth and success -- and, believe it or not, kids can learn these key skills, including kindness, through media. Of course, raising a kind kid takes a lot more than showing them good movies, but the films we've selected can spark conversations about kindness and why it's important. From learning to appreciate differences to seeing the importance of friendship, acceptance, and tolerance, these movies might help inspire random acts of kindness in your kids. And if your kids are gamers, we have suggestions for those, too!

Top 30 Kindness and Friendship Movies for Families

  • Kindness can be learned like any other skill. It seems like such a simple quality, but unless we teach children to be kind, it won't become an integral part of their being. In addition, being kind is crucial for establishing and maintaining good friendships. They go hand in hand! Watching and discussing movies can be a fun and helpful way to discuss kindness and friendship.  We reached out to our community and put together a list of 30 great movies with characters who demonstrate kindness, empathy, and good friendship.

100 Kid Movies that Nurture Empathy

  • Films can stir our emotions, spark our curiosity, creating lasting memories, and become portals to other worlds. In some cases, a movie can whip our conscience, shift our perspective, or activate our feelings so we stand up and change the world for the better. The right movie can stir a child’s empathy better than any lesson or lecture ever could. The right movie matched with the right child can also be the gateway to opening his heart to humanity. And the right films can also be teaching tools to help kids learn the nine essential empathy capacities culled from science.

  • If you have a visual learner, movies are a wonderful way to teach them about kindness and compassion. There are some really great movies out there, but it can be difficult to find them amongst all the...well, not so great ones.

  • This movie round-up can help as we teach our family to look beyond appearances, and beyond themselves. As I’ve watched these movies myself, I have felt my heart soften, and my resolve to care for others grow. These movies (particularly the ones for teens and older), will change the feeling in your home.