We took the twins to their first movie this past weekend, as it was something to do on a rain-filled Memorial Day Weekend Sunday. I had been looking forward to this adventure since I first got pregnant, and it actually went better than than I thought (Nick would probably tell you otherwise); although we did not make it through the entire movie. Partly I think because we sat down before the credits even started, and partly because the movie we chose, UglyDolls, was awful.
If you are anything like me, you are eager to take your kids to the movies because you think they will enjoy it and it is sort of like a milestone, but you are probably terrified. If they can sit through a movie at home, it’s probably time to take the plunge! To help you prepare for that first cinematic experience, I’ve compiled a list of tips and advice that helped us through our latest adventure.
1. Pick the right show time. Timing is everything; I recommend late morning. Between 11 a.m – noon is my suggestion. This timeframe gives the kiddos time to play and burn off energy in the morning, but it’s still early enough that (hopefully) they aren’t cranky yet. And in my experience the theaters aren’t overcrowded with teens at this time of day!
2.Choose wisely. See a kid-friendly movie (Duh. But I feel it is my motherly duty to actually write that down). Even better if you can find a movie that is a sequel to one they already love (Toy Story 4, How to Train Your Dragon 3, etc.). Unfortunately the only animated movie playing when we went was UglyDolls; which I don’t recommend.
3.You can never have too many snacks. Snacks on snacks on snacks….when you think you have packed enough snacks, pack more! I swear toddlers eat as much as high school boys going through puberty. We brought veggie straws, fruit snacks, suckers and ordered a large popcorn. And I wish I had brought more! We also brought their water bottles from home.
4.Bring something comforting. I packed blankets – theaters always seem a bit on the chilly side. A pacifier or stuffed animal are other suggestions.
5.Pick your seats in advance. If you have the option, try to pick a spot near the aisle, and not too near others (if you can help it). Aisle seats are convenient for potty breaks, tantrum time outs and smooth getaways.
6.Skip the credits. We made the mistake of taking our seats before the credits began. The twins were angels throughout those first 20 minutes. Had we timed it appropriately and skipped the credits, we might have made it through the hole movie!
7.Have low expectations, or no expectations. Don’t head into the experience with the idea that your kids will be perfectly behaved, quiet, and smiling the whole time. Odds are they won’t (and if they are, can you teach me your ways?). If you pick the right movie there will likely be several other kids in the theater so your child’s loud outbursts, food throwing and seat climbing will blend right in.
8. Grab booster seats. Check to see if your theater has booster seats. Theater seats are made for adults, not kids. And nothing is worse than promising your child a great movie experience and then they can’t even see! Our theater had a ton of these and they even had little cup holders for drinks.
9. Bring support. Don’t do this alone! We brought along grandma and grandpa so when the novelty of sitting in their own seats or with mom and dad expired, we still had some options.
10. Be prepared to leave. If your kids just can’t sit still, aren’t enjoying their time, or are ruining the movie for others; leave. Don’t try to stick it out for your sake or because you don’t want to fee like a failure. Be considerate, hit the exit and try again another day. Your fellow movie patrons will thank you!
Just remember, this is new to your toddler. The big screen, loud audio and theater full of strangers might be the perfect combination for unexpected/out-of-character behavior. And that’s OK. Keep on the lookout for your toddlers’ cues, come prepared, and most of all, have fun!
By the way, taking cute pics of your kids in the theater….not easy!