This family-focused list of top Amazon and Netflix documentaries will open the door to life-changing discussions with your kids.
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As parents, it can be hard to explain to our children why we are choosing an alternative lifestyle, especially once kids hit double-digits. The things we teach our kids often go against many of the beliefs they’re hearing from friends at school.
I think at some point (if your kids are a bit older, like ours), they can start to think some of the stuff we share with them is BS. And that is ok, after all, we must teach our children to think for themselves.
We should teach them to question everything — including us.
Make some room in your schedule to spend some quality screen time with your kids. Watching these Netflix documentaries — that allow you to indirectly discuss your values, choices, and a decision to move toward Becoming UnBusy — is a powerful parent-child experience.
When watching this list of documentary films be sure to have the remote on hand to pause the show and talk.
3 Netflix Documentaries That Will Change How Your Kids See The World
These shows open the door to a global perspective and allow your kids to see for themselves (with you there to guide them) that an alternative lifestyle is truly a powerful choice.
1. The Kindness Diaries — A Netflix Documentary Series
Netflix Documentaries Summaries: Watch Leon Logothetis travel around the world on his yellow motorbike, Kindness One, relying only on people’s kindness at each stage of his travel. This show is about sharing everything that you have, even if you don’t have much. Watch this documentary series now on Netflix]
The Kindness Diaries is actually a full Netflix documentary series, not a single show or documentary movie. Every episode of The Kindness Diaries begins with this statement:
The host of the Netflix documentary, Leon Logothetis, continues…
And that is what inspired my journey; a journey where random acts of kindness are repaid with unexpected and life-changing gifts.
The Kindness Diaries documentary series opened deep discussions of gratitude, war, cultural and religious differences, acts of service, education, healthcare, and just overall happiness with our two girls. Time and time again this travel documentary reminded us that love makes the world go round and that little is needed to be truly happy. I wholeheartedly believe this is one of the best documentaries on Netflix. Watching this series together truly changed how my girls see their own lives (and the world).
Parent-to-Parent Tip: A strong word of warning, Episode 11 (The Gift of Sight) was overwhelming. In this episode, Leon stops at Cambodia’s Killing Fields and pays tribute to all the thousands of lives that were brutally lost there. This particular episode should be watched with extreme caution. You know your child’s personality, please use your best judgment.
2. Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things
Netflix Documentaries Summaries: More, newer, cooler: That’s the American Dream. But these creative people see the dream as being more about happiness. [Watch it on Netflix now or buy the documentary here]
The Netflix documentary Minimalism opened the door to a variety of conversations with our girls about “stuff,” advertisements and marketing, popular brands at school, and what happiness means to us. The intro with Ryan Nicodemus really struck a chord with me. He explains:
When I heard about minimalism, it wasn’t just about getting rid of my stuff. It was about taking control of my life, and stop being told what to do and deciding what I wanted to do.
On the surface, it may seem like minimalism and your stuff have little to do with Becoming UnBusy, but the two topics are inseparable. Our stuff dictates where our money goes each month, our stuff affects our required monthly budget, our stuff mandates our work schedules and career choices, our stuff affects our ability to control our lives.
This Netflix documentary allowed us to talk to our girls about why our family is making changes in our life to move toward Becoming UnBusy.
Heads-up: When I saw this award-winning documentary pop into the “new on Netflix” suggestions, I was giddy. The Minimalist website and podcast are an ongoing inspiration. Be sure to check out their blog and Facebook page.
3. Living On One Dollar — Amazon Prime Documentaries
Amazon Summary: Four young friends set out to live on just $1 a day for two months in rural Guatemala. Armed with only a video camera, they battle hunger, parasites, and extreme financial stress as they attempt to survive. [Watch on Amazon Prime]
What is unique about this documentary is that the college students attempted to not only live on a dollar a day but to simulate the dynamics of an unstable field worker’s income. In other words, they had allocated $60 for 60-days, but the amount they received each day was arbitrary. The hardship, support, and joy of the community that embraces them is eye-opening. We watched this documentary with our ten and twelve-year-old daughters. Some of the topics covered were tough, seeing children in poverty is heavy, but it was an enlightening experience.
BONUS: Expedition Happiness — Netflix Documentaries
Netflix Documentaries Summaries: A filmmaker and his musician girlfriend attempt an epic road trip with their dog, traveling across North America in a refurbished school bus. The preview is in German, but in the movie, the couple speaks English. [Watch it on Netflix now]
My tween daughter was searching through Netflix documentaries and found this for our family to watch. The music and nature footage in Netflix documentaries is often spectacular, but what made this travel documentary appealing was knowing that this couple captured the footage themselves. This documentary film is a piece of art combining story, imagery, and powerful music.
While we watched this documentary, we spoke about topics like — how much space do we really need to live, what makes us happy, and where we want to travel as a family. The girls loved being able to pop over to YouTube to watch additional footage about how they prepped the bus, their travels, and other behind the scenes footage.
SPOILER ALERT: While this travel documentary inspires wanderlust, it also focuses on the love of family. The couple has to cut their trip short because their dog is ill unexpectedly. The film concludes with the couple surprising their family, who don’t know they’ve returned early. It is a perfect opportunity to chat with your kids about the phrase, “Home is family.”
Parent-to-Parent Tip: There is a section of the film where the couple is having issues with their U.S. Visa and their dog who is gravely ill is taken from them. There are about five minutes of unsettling footage where they are deeply concerned about the well being of their pet. It was hard for my girls to watch. If you’ve recently lost a furry friend, be sure to fast forward through this section.
The Best Documentaries List — UnBusy Community Suggestions
We’ve had some great discussion over on Facebook around this list of documentaries. Here are some additional recommendations of good documentaries that our UnBusy Community has made:
- I AM The Documentary
- The Happy Movie (Available on Netflix now!)
- The True Cost
- On the Way to School
- Finding Kind
- The Human Experience
- Invisible Children
- Blood Brothers
- Plant Earth 2
Let’s chat about the best documentaries on Netflix, Amazon Prime, at the local library, and on the Web!
Do you have any other documentaries, movies, TV shows or books that have helped you connect with your kids and explain your unique life choices to your kids? We’re always looking for inspiration to share with our kids.
Have you seen any of these documentaries? I’d love to hear about the different conversations you had with your kids while watching them. Please leave us a note below or a message on the Becoming UnBusy Facebook Page. We’d love to hear about it.
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This ‘Alike’ Video Will Have You Tearing Up
This unsettled feeling stirs within me, continually urging me towards an UnBusy Life. Yet, this unique life we’re trying to lead is anything but simple. A friend recommended this inspiring short film ‘Alike’ to me today.
As I watched, I got goosebumps — then tears began to well up…