JustEllaBella takes a toddler to the movies


Eleanor Douglas Meyers is a crafty mom from Uitenhage who blogs about DIY, parenting, natural hair care, fashion, food and fun. In the day she works in the media industry doing layout and freelance writing and at night creates kids accessories and gifts. She kicks off her first guest column for My HeraldLIVE with tips for taking a toddler to the movies

Tips for taking your toddler to the movies

Taking your toddler to the movies is a daunting thing, even more so when you consider how much a trip to the cinema can set you back. No one wants to fork out money to see their tot throw a tantrum in front of a screen – you could do that free at home.

Nevertheless it’s a modern day rite of passage of sorts and if you “take the right precautions” it can really be a blast. My son Aidan is three years old now, he went to the movies for the first time about a year ago and it was quite interesting …

Not as interesting as his most recent movie trip, however, as he decided to stand to see better and ended up slipping under the seat of the person in front of him. The same person who tried to engage him in conversation before the movie started and to whom he explained that “mommy says you’re not supposed to talk in the movies”.

Mommy had just smiled at the time, not knowing that she would have to be on hands and knees fishing her son out from under a chair later.

I suppose that shows that I am by no means an expert in “toddler theatre” but I have picked up a few tips so I might as well share.


Tips for taking a tot to the movies for the first time

– Know your kid.
Would he/she be able to sit quietly through a whole movie? In my opinion it’s not an age thing as much as a temperament thing. My nephew can’t sit still for five minutes, while Aidan is a very chilled and can watch a TV show, page through books or do crafts quite easily and for a long time.

– Choose your time well
We went midday on a weekday to reduce the chance of having a theatre full of annoyed people if kiddo decided to act out.

 Choose your movie well
Make sure it is age appropriate and that it doesn’t run too long. You can’t expect them to sit still through epic dramas (you can’t expect that from me either).

– Skip the trailers
The less time they are forced to sit still the better.

– Prepare them
I believe in explaining “big” things to him, it gets him excited for the event and he is less overwhelmed. In this case, he is not a fan of the dark so I explained that the lights would go off, but then a “big TV” would go on and he was fine with it.

– Choose an aisle seat
It’s easier to make a quick retreat in an aisle seat, in case of tantrums or bathroom breaks.

– Don’t be too invested in the movie
If your kid doesn’t want to sit through the whole film you need to be prepared to walk away from your overpriced seats.

– Pick up on cues 
I noticed that Aidan was getting a little uncomfortable or tense when he reached for my hand … I checked if he wanted to go, but he insisted on sitting through albeit on my lap.

– Soak up the excitement
Nothing like seeing things like this through a child’s eyes … things we take for granted are magnified and made even more special with them

Read more from Eleanor at www.justellabella.co.za

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