Why does taking your kids to the movies always seem like a great idea, but leave you exhausted and frustrated by the time the credits roll? Use these tips for making the theater experience fun for you and the kids!
Buy tickets in advance – Nothing is worse for an excited kid than having to wait in a long line to get tickets (and watching as their much-anticipated film sells out before their eyes!). Most theaters sell tickets online on their own site or on Fandango.
Consider the time of day – It sounds crazy, but chose a show time that’s not at naptime, but closer to it when kids are getting ready to relax anyway.
Skip the 3-D – Older kids, ages 8 and up, can probably handle the 3-D experience, but for younger kids, the glasses just tend to be annoying and often the extra visual stimulation makes their tummy sick.
Pack a bag of snacks – Keeping little fingers busy with some healthy snacks seems to prolong movie enjoyment. Don’t bring anything that you have to fuss with while you’re in the dark – think pre-sliced apples, grapes or some small crackers in a spill-proof container.
Bring a sweatshirt – Theaters are extra cold to keep viewers awake during the movie. Make sure everyone brings an extra layer to keep warm and comfortable or you may end up with someone snuggling on your lap!
Pack a pillow from home – Little kids have a horrible time keeping the theater seats down and the boosters the theaters provide are usually slippery and uncomfortable. Solution – bring a pillow or two from home to sit on! Firm, square couch pillows often work best.
Get there in time – Rushing into the theater at the last minute will only ensure that you get a seat in the side-wings. Get there in enough time for getting snacks, going potty and getting settled.
Avoid the snack bar meltdown – Let your kids know in advance what they’ll be able to get from the snack bar to avoid disappointment when they see the candy bars the size of their face. Most theaters have a kid’s meal with reasonably sized popcorn, drink and candy.
Warn them about the dark – Most kids are pretty surprised that it gets so dark in the theater, especially when the lights first go down. Give them a little warning about what to expect.
Be willing to take a break or even leave – If they need to, go run a (quiet) lap in the long theater hallway or take a bathroom break to get some wiggles out.
Know before you go – Check out your planned viewing on Common Sense Media‘s website to make sure it is age-appropriate, there’s nothing too scary for sensitive children, and so you’ll know what you might need to explain.
Seattle Movie Theaters We Love
Check out the AMC Theater at Southcenter – They are a new 16-screen theater with extra comfy seats. Plus, parking is free and you can grab a meal before or after the movie at one of the mall’s many attached restaurants.
Lincoln Square theaters has a special program on Thursdays for moms with infants…no children older than 1, please.
Seattle’s Big Picture Theatre hosts children’s birthday parties—one of the best ways for the kiddos to get a movie fix!
— Katie Kavulla