Heading to the cinemas with your young child in tow can be a daunting experience. There’s always battling with snack requests, potty breaks and the constant worry of your little tyke flouting movie theatre etiquette. If you’re planning your first movie outing as a family, here are some handy tips that will guarantee an enjoyable time for all!
#1 Make sure your child is ready
Plenty of kids experience their first movie at around three to four years of age. But if your child is sensitive to loud noises or are afraid of the dark, it might be best to wait till they’re slightly older.
#2 Choose the right movie
The good news is that there are plenty of family-friendly flicks out there. In our experience, cartoons and animations usually do the trick of keeping your kiddo interested till the end. And as a general rule of thumb, do your research and pick titles that aren’t longer than two hours, lest your toddler starts getting restless.
#3 Pick the right timing
The best time to catch a movie is when your little one is somewhat settled, but not too tired that they’ll get grumpy mid-way through the movie. We’d recommend morning slots where there’s a higher chance of other kids being in the theatre, but it really depends on each child and what works for them.
#4 Be very organised
Planning ahead will definitely help minimise stress and smoothen out any kinks in your movie-going experience. For example, booking your tickets online and pre-ordering any snacks, will help you avoid unnecessary queuing and waiting around. If your child has a tendency to go potty frequently, choose aisle seats to avoid having to shuffle around other cinema-goers throughout the movie.
Also, try to arrive exactly as the actual film is showing. Skipping out on film previews and ads will not only help your child stay focused, it also protects the little ones from getting sensory overload from the fast-paced and often loud movie trailers.
Lastly, loading up on edibles is also a great way to keep your kids occupied during the movie. If you’re not willing to bust out on candy and popcorn, keep healthy yet yummy snacks handy.
#5 Set ground rules
Prepare your child by letting them know the basic cinemas rules about being quiet, staying in their seats and generally not disturbing other movie goers. Re-emphasise the rules before heading into the theatre and let them know the consequences of flouting those rules, which may or may not include leaving the cinema altogether.
#6 Be prepared to leave
Like everything else in life with kids, not every experience may go as smoothly as you hoped, especially since it’s their first try. If your child is simply not into the movie, there isn’t any point in stressing everyone out by forcing them to see it through – the bad experience might even cause them to be unwilling to watch another movie in the future.
With that being said, you could try stepping out of the cinema for a bathroom break before going back in to try again. If they start crying or demanding to go home, it’s time to wrap things up and try again next time.