Movies and TV Shows That Spark Empathy in Kids

Teaching kids to think about how other people feel is something that will help them throughout life. These top TV shows can teach lessons and help spark discussions about understanding, compassion, and empathy.

Kid President: Declaration of Awesome
Viral-video star brings inspiring messages to fun TV series.
Recommended for kids 7 and older
Quality: 4 out of 5
Network: Discovery Family Channel

Good Witch
Family-friendly series centers on charming, helpful witch.
Recommended for ages 8 and older
Quality: 4 out of 5
Network: Hallmark Channel

Parents Just Don’t Understand
Reality show lets family members walk in each other’s shoes.
Recommended for ages 8 and older
Quality: 3 out of 5
Network: Discovery Family Channel

The Specials
Webby-winning reality show encourages respect for diversity.
Recommended for ages 9 and older
Quality: 5 out of 5
Network: OWN

The Incredible Dr. Pol
Rural vet’s life is positive entertainment for older kids.
Recommended for ages 10 and older
Quality: 4 out of 5
Network: National Geographic Channel

Fruits Basket
Thoughtful anime has great messages for older tweens.
Recommended for ages 11 and older
Quality: 4 out of 5
Network: Online

Scorpion
Tech-driven drama celebrates brains over brawn.
Recommended for ages 12 and older
Quality: 3 out of 5
Network: CBS

I Am Jazz
Transgender teen’s reality show is positive, poignant.
Recommended for ages 12 and older
Quality: 4 out of 5
Network: TLC

White People
Honest talk about race, privilege in thought-provoking doc.
Recommended for ages 12 and older
Quality: 4 out of 5
Network: MTV

If You Really Knew Me
Sobering reality series digs deep to bust up stereotypes.
Recommended for ages 13 and older
Quality: 4 out of 5
Network: MTV

Glee
Edgy-but-quirky comedy’s music, message will win teens over.
Recommended for ages 14 and older
Quality: 4 out of 5
Network: Fox

This American Life
Compelling true stories from all walks of life.
Recommended for ages 14 and older
Quality: 4 out of 5
Network: Showtime

World of Jenks
Docu offers thoughtful insight into the world of others.
Recommended for ages 14 and older
Quality: 4 out of 5
Network: MTV

(Photo: Walt Disney)

Common Sense Media is an independent nonprofit organization offering unbiased ratings and trusted advice to help families make smart media and technology choices. Check out our ratings and recommendations at www.commonsense.org

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