The Cinema With Children: How to avoid it becoming a parenting disaster movie

May 17, 2018

Would You Take Your Children To The Cinema?

We weight up the cinematic odds of taking young children to the cinema…

Would you take young children to the cinema? How to avoid the cinema being a ticket to a parenting disaster movie

When’s the best time to go to the cinema with children?

In a dramatic turn of events; we went to the cinema last week. Together, as in me and Alex together together, shock horror. It used to be such a regular occurrence pre-children which I presume it was for everyone, right?  We used to go on evenings and weekends and days off, when films first came out, when we were hungover, or whenever we wanted to really, just because we could.

Then we had children and have been to the cinema – together – three times in the past six years.

We do go with the children more frequently because they love it, and I have such fond memories of the cinema when I was younger. It was always such a treat, wasn’t it? We went to our local, velvet-flip-seats one before it became a Quasar, after the super-exciting super-new multi-screen one came to town, which was so important when it opened that it had a massive fireworks display which everyone came out to watch.

However, I also remember someone’s mum would always fall asleep at the cinema and we’d all laugh (I totally get it now).

And it’s still good, when you get around to it. But how can you avoid the post-parenting cinema trip being a ticket to disaster?

Going to the cinema with your newborn baby

Baby screenings are, in practice, a lovely idea – lights up, sound down, no-one cares if you make any noise because everyone else will be. It’s a chance to do something that feels vaguely pre-baby, with all your new mum friends. And your baby.

What has the potential to go wrong?

  • Either your baby will be crying, or someone else’s baby will be crying, or you will be
  • Sitting down for two hours on your newly stitched together stitches might really be…uncomfortable
  • The chances of you watching the whole film are zero – potential interruptions include nappy changes, feeding, crying, burping, some kind of manic new mum thing you have to google right that second that’s definitely a rash on your baby’s arm, oh wait it’s just a shadow. Possibly
  • And the parts of the film you do watch? The chances of you actually taking anything in are slim. Coming from the person who once spent half an hour reading a take-away menu shortly after giving birth and still not having a clue what it meant (true story).
  • You are exhausted, you’ll probably fall asleep.

How to avoid disaster: Go anyway, it’s great! And a good excuse to get out of the house. Just…brace yourself.

Going to the cinema with your toddler

What has the potential to go wrong?

  • Just don’t even go there.

How to avoid disaster: Literally, don’t even go. Take their sibling or sneak out later.

Going to the cinema with your pre-schooler

This is the sweet spot age from which cinema-going starts to get good. They now have an attention span! They like watching things on screens!

What has the potential to go wrong?

  • A lot of children’s films are *whispers* terrible. For every Coco there’s ten Boss Babies
  • *You* might pick the wrong film for them. We’re all still recovering from the Beauty and the Beast trauma
  • If they don’t like it, they will be vocal (‘This is VERY BORING!’ Right as the music stops).

How to avoid disaster: Take snacks. Accept you’ll probably have to do the walk of shame out and leave before the end.

Going to the cinema with your friend / partner, post-baby

While it often takes a mean feat of babysitting to get you or both of you out, it’s worth it (especially if you go to the good ones that serve wine at your seat). But the potential for disaster is still there, lurking in the shadows…

  • Warning: mild peril. Since having children I can’t cope at all with any kind of bad thing happening to any kind of people in films. Or any suspense, or horror. Which does narrow the choice down, somewhat
  • Being forgetful with a terrible attention span does have the potential to ruin the plot. Thanks forever to this and this
  • You’ll probably fall asleep. We went to see one of the noisiest, action and suspense-packed films of recent times. It was great. It was riveting, I still nearly fell asleep.

How to avoid disaster: Tell someone to elbow you if you start snoring…

More posts…Truth and lies in Topsy and Tim, the politics of Paw Patrol and F’s first cinema experience…follow me over on Insta

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