Tips for Taking Kids to the Movies

Taking the kids to the movies sounds like fun, provided battling with snack bar wish-lists, toilet trips and crazy kids on sugar-highs don’t scare you. Kidspot has all the tricks to make a trip to the movies an enjoyable family day – all without breaking the budget.

Choose the right movie

Don’t over-extend the kids – be sure that you’ve chosen a suitable film for your children’s ages and that the running time isn’t too long. Avoid the busier opening days, especially with younger children, as the large crowds can mean long lines and limited seating options, as well as more noise and fuss.

Pre-purchase the tickets, choose your snacks wisely

Save yourself time at ticket counters and snack bars, and get organised before you even leave the house. You can buy your tickets online at most cinemas to save time once you arrive. Be sure to check for discounts through sites like TreatMe or GrabOne and don’t forget to utilise the Entertainment Book offers, or FlyBuys rewards.

For a budget-friendly cinema visit, skip the snack bar treats. You’ll not only save money, but you’ll also be able to limit the inevitable sugar rush that choc-tops and lollies bring. As a compromise, grab a family-sized box of popcorn to share – what kid doesn’t love a box that’s bigger than his head? Also, buying small drinks can help to avoid excess toilet-trips.

Let the kids know the ground rules

It’s time to roll out a few basic rules. Make sure your children know the usual cinema rules about being quiet, staying in their seats and not disturbing other movie-goers. Ask them to remind you of the rules before you go inside the cinema – that’ll make sure they remember. Make sure the kids (and you) are well-rested and choose a time of day that suits your general routine if you have a toddler still napping in the daytime. For your sake, and for your fellow movie-goers, expect the possibility that you may need to leave before the movie is finished. If your child needs consoling, it’s often more comforting to leave the dark cinema and soothe them in the light of the foyer. If your children are unruly or misbehaving, you may have to go through with your pre-arranged consequences, which may or may not include leaving the movie altogether

Save the attention span for the movie

Trying to get kids to sit still through two hours of anything can be a lesson in futility. Make it easy on them by skipping the endless previews and ads at the start of a film. Ask the cashier the exact time the main feature will start and don’t head in to the theatre until then. Just before the main feature starts is a perfect time for last-minute trips to the restrooms.

Grab an aisle seat and a booster

You know a quick escape is going to be easier if you’re already near the aisle. Imagine trying to climb over legs and handbags with a tantruming toddler in tow?! Make it easy on yourself to leave quickly and quietly – this is also handy for kids who may need a loo trip or two during the movie. Some cinemas have booster seats available for small children – just ask at the ticket desk. Or consider bringing a cushion from home, as it will mean a more pleasant experience for both adult and child – the ultimate goal here is to keep your lap child-free for an hour or two! Just make sure you’re not blocking someone else’s view.

Peer pressure works!

Go to the movies with another family – it can make the whole experience that much more manageable and fun. There’s not only another adult to help supervise, handle toilet trips and offer moral support. Kids often respond well to the peer pressure of wanting to behave in front of their friends – or at least avoid getting in trouble in front of them!

This article was written for Kidspot Australia and has been adapted by Kidspot New Zealand with permission.

How old were your kids when you braved taking them to the cinema?

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  1. Alezandra 03/03/2019 at 11:30 pm

    I have thought of needing a booster. I took my then 2 year old son to the Cars 3 movie and he didn’t seem to mind the height and he was able to view the movie. It was the first and only so far we’ve watched. I don’t know if we are able to do it again. Timing is key though – it can’t be newly showing or when there’s lots of people in the movies – need to be prepared for some loud voices and shusshing…or having to exit.

  2. SarahBlair 02/03/2019 at 10:51 pm

    Great ideas!! I haven’t taken my 4 year old to the movies yet because I don’t think that he will sit through but I might give it a go using these ideas!

  3. kymmage 01/03/2019 at 7:59 am

    My kids have always gone to the movies. I found there is a 1 year long period though. Starts around 18 months and lasts til 2.5 years where they just can’t handle sitting for a movie. My kids also went though a thing of only wanting to see live action movies or only being interested in cartoons. So it’s important to know what will hold their attention as well.

  4. felicity beets 28/02/2019 at 8:32 am

    Great ideas to ask for booster seat and going with another family. I want to try going to one of the baby sessions, as I think this is a great idea.

  5. MuddledUpMolly 27/02/2019 at 3:37 pm

    My eight year old loves going to the movies, and of course all the bells and whistles that come with it! We don’t go often for this very reason. Our 2 year old is yet to go and perhaps this will be a long time off for her as her attention span isn’t quite there yet.

  6. dawnblyth 27/02/2019 at 11:53 am

    My eldest was 4yrs old and he loved it. We haven’t taken my youngest yet simply because of the cost involved these days.

  7. Mands1980 25/02/2019 at 11:54 am

    We take our kids occasionally to the movies but find it very expensive by the time you purchase the ticket and something to eat or drink. We live in a smaller town so can’t get deals online so for a family it’s expensive. The kids enjoy going now they are slightly older but we choose what they want to see of course. We still sit near the edge so we can get out for toilet breaks if needed.

  8. Bevik1971 25/02/2019 at 10:30 am

    We don’t take our 6 year old to the movies that often, we did all go and see Ralph Breaks the Internet during the last school holidays together though, which was great as it was all of us 🙂 We took her booster and only purchased a popcorn and a lemonade (I also take fizzy water), so she wouldn’t get too wriggly! She was actually pretty good and didn’t need a toilet break and we all enjoyed the movie 🙂

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