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Location: Northern California

Read all about the adventures of the Tsao Family during the summer of 2012

Thursday, September 08, 2005


Short attention span theatre: tips for taking your toddler to the movies

I am a mom crazy enough to sometimes take my toddler to the movies. If you haven’t seen a movie since you were pregnant, and if you don’t mind G or PG rated flicks, take a walk on the wild side and take your toddler to the movies. It might be more fun than you think.

To help you reclaim your movie-going lifestyle, I’ve compiled a list of Dos and Don’ts.

Don’t go to a movie on opening day or opening weekend.
Go several weeks after opening day, when hopefully everybody who cares about a quiet theatre has already seen the movie.

Do go to a matinee showing.
If possible, go on a weekday. If you’re lucky, you’ll be the only people in the theatre. If you’re really lucky, your kid will decide a dark theatre is a great place for a nap and you’ll get to watch the movie in peace.

Don’t arrive early.
Go on time, or if you think finding a seat won’t be a problem, go late. Toddlers don’t need to see previews. Save their short attention spans for the movie.

Don’t bring snacks from home.
If you can afford it, buy snacks at the theatre, but don’t get them before the movie starts. Instead, wait until your tyke has taken fidgeting to a whole new level and then make a field trip out of getting the popcorn. And get the economy tub; eating it may keep your child entertained through the end of the movie. But don’t get extra butter; if your kid spills his popcorn like mind did, he might also slip on the now super slippery floor and become hysterical. Like mine did.

Do bring a distraction.
My little girl can be distracted by a piece of paper and a pen for twenty minutes or more, therefore I never go anywhere without a notebook and a pen. What quiet activity occupies your youngster? Even if you normally don’t condone it, consider letting him pick his nose just this once.

Don’t sit by old people.
The elderly have less patience for children who fidget and whisper. If the theatre is full, sit by another family with kids. If the theatre is near empty, sit in an empty row. You can’t expect your toddler to sit in only one seat for an entire 80 minutes, can you?

Do be prepared to leave.
If your child becomes scared and can’t be consoled, or if he can’t settle down, just leave the movie. Sometimes taking your toddler to the theatre is a rewarding experience and sometimes it isn’t. Leaving before it becomes a disaster is usually a good thing. Leaving before you are asked to leave is always a good thing.