When Can You Take Your Baby to the Movies?
A dark room with loud noises, junk food, a ton of random strangers in close proximity, and your baby. Doesn’t that sound like fun? *inserts sarcastic tone here.* Have you ever wondered when can you take your baby to the movies? Taking your young children to the movies can be a nerve-wracking thought. It’s much like taking them on a plane for the first time.
What if they start to cry or won’t sit still? What if they throw something at the person sitting in front of them? I actually did not think of that IRL, but LOL.
This was a recent situation that Marquis & I encountered. Another notch to add to our parenting belt. We sat through an entire movie with our 18-month-old baby. How did it go? Keep reading to find out!
The #1 date option for Marquis & I is always the movies. It’s just a no-hassle date. No dressing up involved, minimal planning. It’s the perfect date for lazy people like us! Being that it is such a no-hassle outing, we decided it would be a good idea to take Jaxon to the movies with us. It wasn’t because we wanted him to go with us, but because we were out of town, and it was easier to take him with us instead of trying to find someone to watch him.
Marquis & I had been waiting on Avengers: Infinity War to come out for the longest. Because we didn’t have a sitter for Jax, we decided to go during his regular nap time. It’ll be no big deal!
What is the appropriate age?
Marquis & I discussed this not too long after Jaxon was born. I asked a few people I knew that had children, and a lot of them said their children were 3 or 4 before they could sit through an entire movie. In my mind, I felt like that would be a great age to expose Jaxon to the theatre.
That all changed when we saw the trailer for the Incredibles 2. It was slated for a summer 2018 release. We were 10-11 years old when the first Incredibles came out. So, naturally, we were super excited for the second one. Jaxon would be 19-20 months and hopefully well-behaved enough to sit through it. But, it did not work out that way, and his first movie trip came at 18-months.
What the Experts Say
Experts believe that too much screen time, including going to the movies, isn’t recommended due to the fact that:
- Movies are too loud
- Images may be harmful/graphic
- Movies have the “ability to negatively impact language acquisition, emotional and social development, and even your baby’s sleep and weight in the first few years of his life, when his brain is growing the fastest.”
Taking your baby to the movies should be more a rare occurrence.
Forget all of that, though.
Jaxon has learned SO much from watching Youtube. He is already counting to ten and saying his ABC’s on his own. So, I really don’t care about “recommendations.” Jaxon LOVES television just as much as he loves to play outside. That’s just MY opinion, though.
Baby’s First Movie
Like I mentioned earlier, this was our only opportunity to see Avengers: Infinity War together and we didn’t have a babysitter. We also thought Jaxon would sleep through the movie, which of course, he did not.
But, it wasn’t a bad experience at all.
As soon as we got the opportunity to see the movie without a full theatre, we took it. We went in the middle of the day on a weekday, so there was hardly anyone in the theatre. Apart from us three, there were about 5-7 other people in the theatre.
Although it was during Jaxon’s nap time, the movie was 2 1/2 hours long so it was also going to be during his lunch-time. We opted for a quick and easy lunch that he could sit in his seat and feed himself. Turkey, cheese, and crackers à la Lunchable. That kept him quiet for a good little while.
His behavior during the movie was great. While he quietly sat and ate his lunch, he would watch the movie. Although he never did fall asleep, he was quiet for the most part. The loud noises from the action movie never startled him. He would get antsy every so often and want to sit in either of our laps. Halfway through the movie, I took Jaxon for a diaper change.
During some loud scenes, he would yell a little bit in excitement, but nothing to disturb the other moviegoers. As we were getting closer to the end of the movie, Jaxon became restless. Since we were sitting closer to the back of the theatre, I turned on one of his favorite Youtube shows and put the sound on mute, and turned the brightness down. That way, he was able to direct his attention towards that and sit quietly for the remainder of the movie.
I would rate this experience an 8/10.
Tips for Baby’s First Movie
Are you considering taking your baby to the movies soon? The question isn’t necessarily “what age can you take your baby,” but “when can you take your baby to the movies.” We were able to take Jaxon to the movies with us at such a young age because he is able to obey rules. If we tell him to whisper, he will whisper. When we tell him to sit down, he will do that as well.
Here are a few tips that I have to share with other moviegoing parents preparing for their child’s first movie experience.
Go when there isn’t a crowd
We went to the movies when most people are at work or still in school. The earlier in the day on a weekday, the better.
Not only did we take a Lunchable for Jaxon to be able to feed himself, but we also took his favorite juice and a few other snacks just in case he wanted more. When he is eating, he loves to sit and watch tv. So planning a movie trip around lunchtime was a good decision.
Be prepared to miss some of the movie
Jaxon and I took a bathroom break halfway through the movie in order for me to be able to change his diaper. I think that refreshed both of us a little bit. So, be prepared to miss some of the movie. Although Marquis & I had been waiting to watch this movie, I did not mind missing a few minutes of it. Avengers was a 2 1/2 hour movie. We needed the break. Also, be prepared to miss the rest of the movie. If your little one gets upset, then you may have to leave the theatre out of respect for everyone else.
Take back up entertainment
Make sure that you have entertainment waiting just in case your baby gets bored with the movie. There is no way to know whether your child will enjoy the movie or not. To be on the safe side, take some quiet entertainment for them to enjoy. The phone worked for us because there was no one sitting behind us to disturb.
Practice at home
If you’re considering taking your little one to the movies, practice at home first. Observe how they sit through shows and movies that interest them. How long can they sit still before they get bored? Do they get antsy easily? Are they easily startled?
Every child is different. There will come a point in a parent’s life when they are going to take their child to the movie for the first time, and it will be a nervous experience. All “firsts” can be. So just relax. If your child is enjoying the movie, great. If they aren’t’, then it is okay to leave. But, don’t feel bad! There’s a first for everything!
What was your child’s first movie and how old were they? Sound off in the comments!