7 Tips for Taking Your Toddler to the Movie Theatre


Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 is out in theatres, and we're headed out to see it as a family over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. It looks so cute, don't you think? We're ready for our #Cloudy2ndHelping!

We've taken our son Charlie to the movies since before he was born. I remember seeing one very popular film with loud action and gun shots, and Charlie didn't stop moving in my belly the entire movie. We went to mommy-and-me showings every Monday morning his entire first year. But seeing movies together since he's become a toddler has become more challenging. They can't sit still, the movies can be loud, and before you know it, you've spent money for your whole family to see a movie only to realise your kiddo wants to leave after 20 minutes.

how to take your kids to the movies

After many attempts at moviegoing during this toddler phase, I've become an old pro at heading out to the movies with a toddler. Here are 7 tips for a happy moviegoing experience with your toddler:

1. Choose a movie your kiddo is interested in. This may be obvious, but you'll have much more success getting your toddler to sit through an animated film than a non-animated one. And make sure it is 2 hours or less—they don't have the attention span for anything longer.

2. Pick a time of day when they aren't antsy and full of energy. We have a lot of luck with an 11:00 AM movie time – Charlie has had time to play all morning, and it is the time that leads into his nap. For some kids this may be first thing in the morning, for others it may be late afternoon. You know your child best.

3. Bring lots of snacks. Littles are much better at sitting and watching a movie when they have fruit, crackers, and other finger food snacks they can feed themselves. You can even take the same snack for every movie and make it a tradition, which makes movie-going even more special to them. A lollipop can work well, too.

4. Bring a little toy or two that they can have in their hands. They usually won't play with it, but it makes them feel like they are doing something besides sitting for the whole movie. Charlie always has something in his hands when we see a film.

5. Find a theatre that does showings for kids (the movie is a little quieter and they don't turn the lights down all the way, making it a bit more kiddo friendly) or sit farther back in the theatre where the movie isn't as loud and overwhelming. We had a problem for a while with Charlie complaining that the movie was "too loud" and found sitting farther back worked better for him.

6. Try to go after the previews are over. Have you ever noticed how loud and fast paced the previews are before kid movies (or any movie, for that matter)? The previews are sensory overload for little eyes, ears, and minds. It is much easier to walk in and get seated after the previews, just before the feature starts.

7. Be prepared to leave if necessary. Sometimes kiddos just aren't into it. Forcing them to watch a movie is stressful for them, you, and everyone around you, and it will leave them with a bad experience that they won't be eager to repeat. If they aren't into the movie or want to leave, ask if they're sure and be prepared to do what they want. It's happened to us on more than one occasion, and usually the theatre will refund your tickets or give you passes for a future movie if you ask.

We're looking forward to checking out Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2—what movies are you going to see with your little ones over Thanksgiving break?