One of my all-time favorite outings growing up was when my dad took me to the movies. Nothing compared to being transported into an imaginary world while munching on popcorn and discussing our opinions afterward.
The Best Time of Day to Take Kids to the Theater
Flash forward to 2004. My husband and I took our firstborn daughter to see Curious George in theaters while I was nine months pregnant with our second child. Taking a two-year-old meant lots of worries were running through our minds during this first-time adventure: Will she be able to sit through it? Will we have to walk out? Will it make her cry?
In fact, it was one of the most magical parenting moments that neither my husband nor I will ever forget. As the lights went down and the screen lit up, so did our toddler daughter's face. Reaching for Daddy's hand on one side and mine on the other, the three of us sat back and got whisked away into the fun.
As with everything in life, however, it's all in the timing. Not every movie adventure has gone so smoothly and, now that we have five kids, my husband and I have definitely had our fair share of experiences walking out of a theater to calm a crying and/or restless child.
In order to enjoy the magic of Hollywood together, choose a show time around your child's schedule. For example, if their nap is at 1 p.m., make sure that your film begins at least two hours in advance. By that same token, don't enter a theater knowing you will disrupt their nighttime schedule either. And, if you are heading to a theater near you during a meal or snack time, make sure to stock up at the concession stand to keep tummies fueled.
Really, the best time to take a child to the movies depends on their schedule, and may even vary from kid to kid depending on their ages, as well. For example, though a 10 a.m. movie may work best for my two-year-old twins at the moment, my seven-year-old son might be too restless during a morning screening. By that same token, a 7 p.m. screening will dive into his bedtime, leaving him too exhausted to enjoy the flick.
Again, nailing the perfect time will be a case-by-case basis, but in general, stick with morning or early afternoon screenings, have an endless supply of snacks on hand just in case, and then sit back and enjoy the magic of movies as a family. If you are anything like me, you won't forget it.