When to Introduce Harry Potter to Kids
Books play a starring role in our household. Reading together is way to connect after a busy day, a tool for teaching important life lessons (sometimes behavior lessons), and a way to spark conversation. As an avid Harry Potter fan, I eagerly awaited the day I could share this magical series with my kids. So you can imagine my elation when, two years ago, my then 6-year old daughter asked to read Harry Potter. After a brief happy dance in my head, I paused to consider the request.
I wondered: When is the right time to introduce Harry Potter to kids? Will she comprehend the story or be too scared? Do I read the books all at once back-to-back? Do we watch the movies first? Do we alternate between the book and corresponding movie? At least we didn’t have to consider the sequence like in the Great Star Wars Debate, but, nevertheless there must be a strategy here.
Of course there is. Actually, there’s an almost obscene amount of opinions on the topic. There is even an Harry Potter age-by-age guide for reading the books, watching movies, and playing games. Ultimately, I decided to go with my own gut and my daughter’s readiness.
We started with book one, The Sorcerer’s Stone, the summer before she turned seven. It was a bit slow going as I stopped frequently to explain new vocabulary, especially descriptive adjectives. Once we got in the groove, we flew through it and through the next book – The Chamber of Secrets. After finishing book two, I decided that the series gets more complicated and darker. We took an extended Harry Potter break.
At this time, however, she started asking to watch the movies. I intrinsically felt that the movies would play out more scary to Olivia than the books. I was definitely projecting my own “way too young to watch” exposure to Jaws (still scarred!). I held my ground on this one which ended up easier than expected once the Frozen phenomenon hit our house. Poor Harry and Hermione got shoved aside for Elsa and Anna.
We picked back up with book three – The Prisoner of Azkaban – at the start of this past summer and now are midway through book four – The Goblet of Fire. So where should we go next? Take another break? Fill the void with the movies, which she still hasn’t seen yet? Should we watch only the first four movies to go along with the completed books? Should we keep on reading straight through because, with the books getting progressively longer, we’ll be finishing up just as Owen (almost age 3) is ready to be introduced to Harry Potter?
Help me out, how did you introduce your kids to Harry Potter? Or didn’t you? And when is it appropriate to start the Lord of the Rings series (jk!)?
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