How to Bring a Baby to the Movie Theater
Selections of Movies and Times Before You Leave Home
If you have a baby, you already know that it takes huge loads of planning to do anything with your baby. Although you may grow used to the sound of your baby and their coos and cries, the rest of the world has not.
Planning a night out to a movie theater can seem like a good idea until you are confronted with realities. Babies cannot be cajoled into sitting through a movie. They don't understand plot, they don't understand gripping moments.
Plan times to go to the movies when your little one would normally be asleep. That's right. Nap time and bed time are wonderful times to take your wee one to the movies.
Know When the Movie Starts and Ends
You know when your baby falls asleep, and you know about how long they sleep for. Now you get to choose a movie.
Select a movie that is over before your baby wakes up. They should be asleep when they arrive and asleep when they leave. Before you leave, make sure that your baby has had a good day and is not feeling ill or cranky. An unhappy baby is not going to fall asleep as easily.
How to Dress Your Baby For the Movies
Of course, dress your child in clothes that are appropriate for what season we are in. Also be mindful of your baby and their comfort. Clothes that are easy to get on and off, comfortable and clean are all excellent choices.
- Bring an extra change of clothes in case there is an accident or spill while you are out.
- Baby wipes
- Toys that are quiet. No one wants to hear baby toys in a movie theater. They came to enjoy the movie.
Selecting the Best Seat is Important
- Arrive to the theater early. You want the seat closest to the exit door in case your baby becomes loud.
- Don't park your car seat in the aisle. You don't want others to stumble over your baby and wake the baby, or even worse, hurt themselves or your baby.
- Make sure that before you plan to take your baby to the movies that you phone the movie theater. Some theaters do not allow children below a certain age in to see movies after a certain hour. (Kiddie Curfew) You don't want to make plans only to have them fail because you did not know about the policy of the theater to not let in small children!
- Ask the theater if you can reserve the rear seats you need. Sometimes with a pre-purchase they will let you do this.
Know When to Step Out and When to Go
Acknowledge right now that there is a very good chance that you will not be seeing the end of the movie with your group. Loud babies are not welcome in a movie theater.
It may be a wise idea to have your own transportation to the movie if you are going with a group of people. That way, if you have to slip out, you can do so without affecting the entire evening for everyone else.
Here are the things to think about before you go to the movies:
- Don't change your baby diaper in the actual movie theater. Please. Don't do it. You might not think so, but your baby creates smells when they go to the restroom. No one else needs to smell that. Plus, it is waste material. I don't care that urine is sterile, it is still waste material. Take your baby, their baby diaper bag and you into the restroom. Strap them into a changing table and change their diaper. It is safer for the baby and it is easier on movie-goers who don't want to deal with that.
- Know when to leave the movie. If your baby is becoming loud, bundle them up and step outside. You can sort out what is going on, and your child is not a distraction. I had a woman behind me hand her mobile phone over to a child to play with so that she could finish the movie. Listening to a toddler play a video game was not something that I was willing to deal with, so I complained and she had to leave.
- Be respectful of others. Yes. We should live in a tolerant world, where everyone hugs, there is no war, and life is perfection. We don't live in that world. People go to the movies to have a pleasant time for an hour or more. Babies are disruptive and they make a movie theater a war zone. People grit their teeth when a baby becomes loud. Don't make your baby be a hated baby. If they become loud, take them out.
- When deciding when to wait it out versus when to go, set a time limit in your head before you go out of the theater for good. I generally say that if a baby is not showing any signs of calming down in one minute, it is a wise idea to head to the car for another five minutes. If, after ten minutes, your baby is still agitated, best to call it a night.
Alternatives to the Movies
If you read this and think to yourself that this is too much bother for a simple movie, you may be right. Especially if your baby is one who is not on a schedule, or who cries a good deal, or who is sickly. In that case, you may have to have an evening in, or hire a babysitter so that you can have an evening out.
If you have an evening in, try and plan it for after your baby goes down for the night. Then you get a good idea of how they deal with crowds and noise. It gets easier with time, but that first time you go out to a movie theater can be daunting.
Some Movie theaters now offer "Cry Theaters" where babies, toddlers and children are allowed and encouraged at that showing. You may want to check near you to see if one is offered. If not, a call to the manager with that suggestion may allow you to go to the movies more often.
Cry theaters are specially designed to be in the day, they offer small meal incentives in certain cases (chicken fingers, ranch dressing, french fries and a small milk) for a reasonable price.
The movies are kid friendly, and you get to go out with your friends. I have been to a cry theater and it was amazing. Once the movie started, most of the children quieted down and the babies settled in as well. I was glad that I went. We had a great time without having to worry about being a distraction.
Have You Brought a Baby to the Movie Theater?
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