What is the best age to take your child to the movies?
Going to the movies is a relaxing time to have some good entertainment. Or at least it was before you had kids! It can be a perfect distraction for your little one or a complete nightmare. As you’re well aware, your little one never stops moving and movie theatres aren’t always the best place to stick them for over an hour. If you’re itching to try out a new activity on a rainy day with your child, the movies might be a new rite of passage for them. But what is that ‘magic’ age where it won’t end in tears (yours or theirs).
Is there a right age?
It really depends on the child. If this is your first, you don’t have anything to compare it to yet, but they’re all different. Based on their personality, they might be quiet and content versus rambunctious and unable to sit still. One can enjoy over 60 minutes of stillness whereas the next is bouncing off the walls, screaming in other viewer’s ears. Keep this in mind when trying to figure out the right age.
What is the norm?
Every child is different but most kids can start to focus and sit still by around three or four years old. However, if your little one is sensitive to loud noises or doesn’t like the dark, you may want to wait until a bit older. There is no rush, but it can be a great alternative activity if they appear to be ready.
How do I make it a success?
There are plenty of little hacks you can make to have a better chance of hole-in-one:
1. Pick the right movie
By now they have made their interests pretty clear to you. Stick to their realm of entertainment and find a movie that will excite them. Animation is usually a winner in those early years.
2. Come in after the trailers
If you love trailers, you might have to give these up for a bit. Skipping them will lessen your time in the theatre and avoid any confusion from them. Kids have a difficult time picking apart ads from the movie and might get overwhelmed by the louder effect during them. You also might use up their focus and ability to sit still before the movie has even started.
3. Find some yummy snacks
Treats are a right of passage at the movies, so to allow for this you can avoid giving them treats during the week and reward them when they get there. It is a good idea to start with some healthy snacks at the start of the movie, popcorn or savoury crackers and avoid too much sugar as that will likely hype them up and make them less likely to sit still. You might prefer to suggest an ice cream or something sweet after the movie.
4. Pick the right time of day
Be aware of their body clock and nap times, if they still have one. Otherwise, you might find they are either doing laps of the cinema – or falling asleep instead.
Going to the movies is a fun activity you and your little one can finally start doing together. Don’t worry about dragging your screaming child out of the theatre either; it happens to everyone at some point! At the same time, don’t force them to endure an hour if they’re not ready yet. Soon enough you will have seen so many kids movies you won’t be able to remember what an adult movie is like!