How Young Is Too Young For the Movies?

We’ve all been there. It’s 11 o’clock at night, you’ve got your extra buttered popcorn and Diet Coke. The theater’s lights darken, the previews are finally over and you’re about to see the highly anticipated, budget-busting blockbuster of the summer. Then, from two rows away you hear a scared voice: “Mommy? Why’s it so dark?”

Groan. Someone brought their kid to the movies.

I get it. Well no I don’t, but I get wanting to get out of the house to catch a flick like you used to before becoming a parent. But reality check: You are a parent. Yet that doesn’t mean your movie-watching days are over or that they’re on pause for 18 years.

Some theaters offer “Family Day” where they dim the lights and lower the sound on the first matinee of the day or on select pictures so parents and rug rats alike can hang at the movies. We tried that twice. When Logan was about three months old we went with a friend and her babe to Enchanted. (In my mama brain I thought we were going to see Golden Compass.) Every time Amy Adams belted out a tune, my guy belted out a shriek. My friend’s sweet babe slept the entire time.

The second time we had a bit more success. He was seven months old, Daddy had the day off and came along as we met with another family to watch the matinee of Vantage Point. Logan made it through about 75 percent of the movie, then got antsy so he and I played out in the lobby.

You can always can wait until your little one is older and see a kid-friendly movie. Logan’s first real movie experience was the 10 a.m. showing of How to Train Your Dragon. He was 2 and a half. We hyped up the movie-going experience, explaining it to him the day before we went. We discussed the importance of sitting down in the chair and being quiet. Also, promises were made for special popcorn.

He watched the show like a pro, except I don’t think he blinked for the first half. He just sat there, riveted. Our friends are movie buffs and take their toddler to kid-friendly shows a lot, so we trust their reviews. They were right, it was the perfect first movie, funny stuff for parents and not scary at all for the little guys. (And no high Cs from Amy Adams!)

So even though you’re a mom, there’s still ways to see movies. If you don’t have a theater that caters to families, see if a friend can watch the little one for a bit or make hubby stay home while you go out. But please, please no late-night scary movies for the little people.

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