Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Can you take a toddler to the movies?

Well, the answer is yes. Kind of.

I have two sons – a 5 year old and a 21 month old – and about a month ago, the older one really wanted to see Planes. So my husband and I went back and forth over whether or not our younger son, Jack, could go. He’s only 21 months and we thought he might get overwhelmed or not be able to sit still that long… the list went on and on. I Googled ‘what age can you take your child to the movies’ and got a ton of conflicting answers, but, in the end we decided to go for it.

Every child is different, but Jack has already hit the stage where he will actually sit and watch a television show. Our older son was never interested in television, so I definitely wouldn’t have made the same decision with him at this age. So, off to the movies we went. It was like packing for vacation. My husband and I went into knowing that one or both of us would probably miss large chunks of the movie. In fact, we even had a meeting point arranged in case Jack threw some crazy, loud fit and one of us had to get out of there in a hurry!

We packed a bag of Jack’s favorite snacks, a few non-noise, non-light toys and his stroller (in case we had to go walk around outside the theater.) We also chose a movie theater inside a mall, that way if one of us had to leave the movie with Jack, at least we would have some good options for places to go!

I know this sounds like we over-thought it, but two children will totally do that to you.

In the end, it was a raging success. Jack snacked and watched all but the last 15 minutes of the movie! In fact, at times he sat and clapped and yelled, “Go, go!” at that crazy Dusty Cropduster. With 15 minutes left to go, he had had enough so I loaded him up in the stroller and left big brother and dad behind to catch the end of the movie. Jack and I rolled around the lobby, checked out the snacks and went back into the theater to see the end for ourselves. A success indeed!!

You know your child best, so if you think they (and you) can handle a movie, then don’t stress. Choose a seat near the bottom and just know you might not see the whole movie… but if it’s a children’s cartoon, I can almost guarantee you the hero/main character will win in the end. So you won’t miss much.

Here’s a list of what we packed for Jack to make it through his first movie:
Raisins, a mini banana, vanilla wafers, crackers, two sippy cups, two wooden trains, his favorite blanket, a small pillow, his stroller and a fabric book.

And we used it all.

Aleshia Howe is a Senior Communications Specialist for Texas Health Resources and Mom to two boys.

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