Going to the movies has long been one of my most favorite pastimes. As a kid, I remember going to the movies nearly every Saturday night with my aunts and uncles or grandparents. It was a way of life for us. I’ve been dying to share this passion of mine with my son. While I don’t get to the movies as often as I’d like these days, I was particularly thrilled to take my son Jack to see “Paddington 2” on Jan. 14. I had tried twice before to take him to the movies and it was a complete disaster and he would not sit still in the seat so we had to leave both times. But, this time, I could immediately tell it was much different. He had seen the trailer for “Paddington 2” several times and kept mentioning he wanted to see it. He had watched the original “Paddington” on Netflix at least 20 times. He’s exactly 3.4 years old now and being in preschool has definitely helped hone his listening skills. So, my husband and I decided to take a chance and hit a matinee with Jack. It turned out to be the most awesome experience. Watching his reaction to Paddington’s latest shenanigans was priceless. These are the moments I like to freeze frame in my mind and box away in my heart. The “firsts” are always so special.
In honor of our big outing, I decided to craft some tips for taking any toddler to the movies. Here’s what I came up with:
- Always select a matinee and if you can pick an off time, that’s even better. Chances are, when you’re in a matinee at a children’s movie, you’ll be surrounded by other parents and children so you won’t have as much stress if they let out a yelp or jump around in their seat.
- Bring a sippy cup, a bottle of water and arm yourself with plenty of snacks your child loves so they can have something to munch on during the film.
- If the child has a favorite stuffed animal or any non-noisy toy related to the movie you’re seeing, bring it. It will give them something to snuggle up with during the film.
- If they happen to nod off in the dark, quiet theater, just let them be. They’ll eventually wake up but if you prematurely poke them out of slumber, it could resort in a major meltdown and you’ll have to immediately exit the theater.
- Make sure the movie is age appropriate for your child. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been in a theater, late at night, watching a scary movie and there are children under five in the theater. This is never a good idea.
- Make sure it’s a movie with a subject that really interests your child. Not all children’s movies are created equal. If your son or daughter is obsessed with a certain children’s character, whether it be Paddington Bear or Lightning McQueen, they’ll be much more likely to pay attention to the film and have it hold their interest.
- Bring a jacket or a cozy blanket. Movie theaters can get chilly. Make sure you have all the comforts to making this cinematic experience a success.
- Sit near an aisle if possible just in case you need to make an emergency exit for bathroom breaks with your little one or in case they simply can’t stay calm.
- Make sure your child is really ready to sit in a movie theater. Timing in life is everything. Make sure your child is enough to handle the experience.
- Enjoy yourself and soak in every moment. There will likely come a day when your child will not want to sit in the movies, watching a children’s movie with you.