25 Sep 2017

What Age Should You Take a Child to the Cinema?

Well we got on the cinema bandwagon quite late with Bubba, unless you count the time I went to see 'The Inbetweeners' at the mother and baby showing and I fed her sweet potato stew half way through when she was 9 months old. I'm so rock and roll, I know!

I can't remember what we went to see but she was four (almost five) before we went properly and she spent the whole time sat on my lap. She was too small, even with the chair raiser, to see and the chair kept collapsing on her and she got sucked into the ravine.

So with my boy we wanted to go as a family and seeing as he is only three we were sure it was the best time for us. He is a runner by nature and doesn't sit still for very long so I was understandably nervous beforehand.




If you aren't sure when to take your child for the first time then these tips might help:
  • Take plenty of snacks
We got both the kids one of the cinema popcorn pots but I also packed extra sweets and crisps in little pots so he got a taster (and it took him a little while to get into each one). I must admit he was fine until the food started to run out!
  • Family Screenings

It can be expensive to go to the cinema and very frustrating if you have a child that doesn't want to stay after you've forked out a second mortgage on tickets. To be on the safe side we went on a family friendly screening and we didn't see a latest release. It was £2.50 per person and spending £10 for a family of four was much better than what it normally is (£10 per adult).
  •  Pick the right film
We went for a film that wasn't a recent release but was still of interest to both of our children (The Smurfs). Before we went, he knew about Smurfs and we'd watched a few other films about them so we knew for at least half an hour he'd be ok.

  • Book in advance
This can be a risky strategy sometimes but I booked late the night before and it worked out well. It meant we could turn up at the last minute, knowing we had seats all together, so he didn't get too bored.

  • Go with it
When you've got a younger child at the cinema and you can't really predict how they will react so you need to just go with it. A few parents with smaller children (two and under) left halfway through and didn't return. Our boy got a bit of wanderlust and left to go to the loo with daddy and then got a taste for freedom and wanted to go out and run up and down the corridor a few times. So don't expect to be able to sit and watch the film properly yourself.

So on the whole I don't think we'd have got away with taking him any younger than three as he is a natural runner and full of mischief. I think I would wait until he is a little older to take him again to a film he really wants to see, especially if I am alone with both of them. The kids both loved sharing the experience together although Bubba did get frustrated that her little brother kept getting up.

Oh and one other tip...if you have a runner like we do then it's best to sit near the exits or near the back because at one point our little man was just happy pottering along the row that we were in (it was the row where two other families left with smaller children).

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