The archives at The Mom Writes are filled with great content. I’m taking this week to republish some classics that are perfect for the upcoming summer months! Today, I’m sharing my tips on taking a toddler to the movies. I’d love to hear how you make this outing easy for your family.
Movie Outings and Entertainment with Toddlers Made Easy
My husband and I enjoy watching movies at the movie hall. Ever since our daughter was born, though, this weekend pastime took a backseat. However, when she turned 18 months, we thought about resuming our trip to the movie hall on a monthly basis, instead of a weekend one. Friends and family members weren’t so sure. What if she cries and disturbs the others? What if the sound is too loud? What if..? The list just goes on. Anyway, I thought that unless we don’t try it out, there is no way we will now. So, we took our little toddler out for a movie one fine day and it was fun. Really fun! She had a blast. Toddlers, I’ve found, will enjoy new activities and outings as long as they’re planned properly and adequate arrangements have been made.
Here are my tips for making a trip to the movie hall a fun and interesting toddler activity.
Prepare for the Outing
As with any toddler activity, preparation is key. Get a diaper bag all ready and set to accompany you to the movie hall. You may have to spend a little time explaining the items to security but it will be worth it. Here is my list of must-haves for a trip to the movies.
- Diapers, changing mat and change of clothes
- Wet wipes
- A blanket in case it gets too cold inside
- A favorite toy
- Cotton wool for the ears. We always put cotton wool plugs in our daughter’s ears to muffle the sound.
- Toddler snacks and drinks – If the movie hall has a “no outside food and drink policy”, speak with the manager and explain that your toddler cannot eat food from the concession stand. It works.
Choose the Movie with Care
Actually, this should be the first step. Always choose a movie that is child-friendly. It does not have to be Disney or animation, just that it should be free of violence, abusive or vulgar language, excessively loud sounds and intimate scenes. And no, that does not rule out everything. There are plenty of good, wholesome family movies out there. And for us, since this is a monthly outing, we simply wait till an appropriate movie comes along.
Another thing to keep in mind is choosing the show timing. We tend to pick shows that are a little late in the afternoon. Our daughter is fed and happy and is ready for a nap, so she usually watches a bit, and then, dozes off to sleep, waking up only post-interval. Some parents find watching late-night shows works well for them. So, you may have to choose a show that will work best with your toddler. In any case, never choose a show when a toddler might be hungry or tired.
The duration of the movie is yet another factor. While most movies in the US are an hour and a half, movies here in India are pretty much double of that. So, where possible, choose shorter movies to begin with and once your toddler is used to the movie hall, try the longer ones.
Get your Toddler Excited About the Movie
A day or two before the movie, tell your toddler that you’ll be taking her to the movie hall. This works each time. Explain what she’ll be seeing there. Get her excited about it by being excited yourself. Even on the way to the hall, sing songs from the movie and ask her where she’s going. Mine has started saying, “Moofie”. **Smiling**
Dealing with Toddler Crises in the Movie Hall
Even if you’ve prepared yourself and your toddler for the outing, have chosen the movie with care, there are chances that your toddler may act up. Here are some potential toddler crises that could occur during a movie show.
- Mommy, I’m Hungry – A snack or two should do the trick. Follow up the snack with a drink and this crisis will be taken care of.
- Mommy, I’m Tired – Rocking your toddler or giving her a toy to play with will serve to distract and calm down.
- Mommy, I Need My Diaper Changed – Obvious. Head out to the changing room or if there isn’t one, to a private portion of the lounge area and change the offending diaper.
- Mommy, I’m Bored – Again, favorite toy to the rescue. Else, take her out for a little change of scene. Chances are she’ll be alright when she comes back.
I do hope that these tips and ideas will help you to make a decision about taking your toddler along to a movie hall. Do share your own tips for planning such an outing with a toddler in tow.
Photo Credit: Aunt Owwee