Even though film buffs have many ways to watch a movie at home these days, there's something special about sitting in a darkened theater, surrounded by others, watching a movie on the big screen. If you're a parent, you'll eventually want to share this special experience with your child. But without a little planning and preparation, your child's first movie experience may not go the way that you wanted it to. Take a look at a few tips that will help make your child's first trip the movie theater to see an upcoming animated movie a fun experience for everyone.
Wait for the Right Movie
Choosing the right movie for a small child can be more difficult than it sounds. While animated movies are usually child-friendly, not all of them are. Make sure to check out a description of the movie and the reviews to be sure that children are the intended audience.
You should also make sure that it's a movie that your child is interested in seeing. Even small children can have very strong preferences about the stories and characters they're interested in. A child who's bored and uninterested is much less likely to sit still and stay quiet through the show. Show them trailers for the movie ahead of time to ensure that it's something they want to see.
Bring Movie Supplies
The extra-loud sounds in a movie theater can be upsetting or even scary for small children. Since you can't turn the volume down, consider bringing a pair of headphones to muffle the sound a bit. That way, your child can hear the movie at a volume that's more comfortable for them.
You should also bring a quiet toy for your child to play with in case they get bored during a slow period in the action. Avoid anything that makes noise or lights up or has a screen – pick a plushy stuffed animal, a doll, or an action figure.
You probably won't be allowed to bring food and drinks into the theater, so make sure that your child is well-fed if you don't plan to buy popcorn or snacks there. Let your child know ahead of time what you will or won't buy from the concession stand – you don't want to have that argument in the theater.
Time It Right
Often, a matinee showing is the best time of day for a child to go to the movies. For many children, a matinee is after lunch so they're not hungry and early enough in the day that they aren't sleepy or cranky. And because it's a common time to take children to the movies, chances are that the seats will be filled with other parents and children who won't be upset if your child talks or gets up a few times. And as a bonus, the tickets are usually cheaper.
However, use your knowledge of your child as a guide. If a matinee showing is in the middle of what's usually your child's naptime, or if your kid is a night owl who's more alert and agreeable later in the evening, you may want to go with a later showing.
Even with careful planning, you should be prepared for the possibility that you may have to leave the theater early. You won't be the first or last parent to experience that. However, choosing the right show at the right time and coming prepared should minimize the possibility of trouble and improve yours and your child's chances of having a good time.
Do you have kids that are becoming interested in going to the movies? Do you worry that you will pay for admission for you and your kids and a few minutes into the movie realize that the movie is a little racy for your kids? I have done this in the past and it really breaks my heart when I have to pull the kids out of the theater because I don't like the language, the violence level and the amount of skin being shown, so I have begun researching ways to decide what movies are appropriate for kids of all ages. My blog explains it all, so you can avoid the uncomfortable situation of removing your kids from a theater.