If you showed me the preview for the movie “Hop” before I had kids my response would have been something like, “AAAAARRRGHHH!!! STICK KNIVES IN MY EYES!!! Wait… is that Kaley Cuoco? WHY IS SHE TALKING TO A RABBIT? ARRRRGGHH!!! WHAT IS THIS CRAP?! GAH!!” I then would have passed out from boredom, drooling.
Now that I’m a Dad though my response was, “Awww. I bet Annie would love to see that! She could learn about the Easter Bunny! How cute!”
Yes. Being a Dad has made me soft. But that’s not what this post is about, it’s about my wanting to take Annie to a movie. I’m worried though… is taking a fourteen month old to a movie a serious error in judgment?
Heather took Maddie to a “Mommy & Me” matinee to see the masterpiece “Bride Wars” when Maddie was around Annie’s age. “Mommy & Me” matinees are meant specifically for parents to take their babies. The sound is turned down so as not to startle the little ones, and the lights are turned low but not off as they are at a normal screening. Maddie was enthralled:
Heather bragged that night about how well Maddie did – she stayed in her seat the whole time and behaved while other babies fussed and cried. That was Maddie though, she was such a laid back little sweetheart who would cuddle with you for hours on end. Annie is a constantly on the move little dynamo who hates being contained. And while she might be okay at one of those Mommy & Me screenings (I guess I would be the Mommy in that scenario?), there’s no guarantee. Making matters worse is the fact that “Mommy & Me” screenings are only once a week during the day and often of random movies as opposed to the kind I’d want to take Annie to see, so if we were to go to a movie I’d probably have to take her to a normal screening.
I’m looking at The Smurfs movie coming out July 29th as a possible Daddy & Annie movie date. That will make her 18 months old. Will she be okay? Or am I out of my mind to even consider this?
I took my daughter, who was two, then.. I think… to a screening of Where the Wild Things are.
She would. not. stop roaring and howling.
…but it was okay since the monsters (kids) and their parents were seated on the bottom seats of the theater.
But who wouldn’t love Annie?
The Smurfs? I think you’ll be ok. No one is going to see that movie so the theater will probably be empty.
Sorry, but I had to reply to this one… I almost choked on a piece of bread reading this one
Backpacking Dad says:
I took Erin to the movies all the time when she was a baby, and became really comfortable doing so. At about a year old, though, she became such a little babbly squeaker that I had to take a break. Between “Nim’s Island” and “G-Force”, which was about 14 months to over 2 years old, I didn’t bring her. She just wasn’t interested enough not to want to run around inside the theater, and at that age she didn’t want to be strapped in a stroller, and WOULDN’T stay sitting in a booster chair.
At around two years old I had some major success taking both her and her infant brother to the movies on my own. That was the “G-Force” trip. Then I failed miserably taking them to see “Ice Age 3” and we had to walk out.
I have some tips for the older set and younger set combo. But for the inbetweeners. I was too afraid to try it.
If you want to take Annie then you should. Even if she goes wild I’m sure it couldn’t be worse than when that lady let you go ahead of her at the post office and then saw you had several packages to mail.
I think they need to make a chain of movie theaters specifically for parents and children. It would be the same as regular theaters so you can see whatever movies are currently playing and they could put in a playroom up front for the kids if they get antsy while the parents can still watch the film.
Both my twins have ADHD. We are huge movie goers so we built up to it… the first few times were…challenging. Then slowly they eased into it. BUT they were 3 years old. (they are now 5 1/2)
I would pick an appropriate movie but I wouldn’t take such a young baby to be honest. She won’t understand a thing, she will become bored and you might have to leave thus you have just spent some $$ for nothing
PLus I always keep in mind, other people have paid their hard earned money like I have and they too have a right to see a movie in peace… so I preferred to take my rambitious kids to a park or the zoo instead of taking them to a movie I knew they wouldn’t sit through.
I know you are SO looking forward to taking her but the time will come… if you think she will not sit through it and you might end up juggling a fussy, bored baby, then take her to a park instead…or a playground, take some lovely photos and have a little pic nic.. a perfect day.
Just my 2 cents
Much love as always!
Take your little girl to whatever Movie you want (in the afternoon) And forget about anyone who complains. I mean it. I nursed my first baby (and she cried for a bit) while I watched “Babe” with my parents.
I took my second baby to “A Bug’s Life.” he handled it pretty well.
My third baby is eight, and has never been to a movie theater in her life. I regret that decision. Take Annie, and have as much fun as you can with her. If she doesn’t make it…try again in a month or so.
I say take her. If that’s what you want to do….take her. Just be prepared…e.g. bring LOTS of snacks, know she will probably need to take lots of breaks ( 18 mon olds don’t have long attention spans) and just be open and prepared to leave when she’s had it and she tells you she’s done. The goal is to give her a positive experience, not having her sit quietly throughout the whole movie…that probably won’t happen considering she’s a mover and a shaker! ha ha
I took my son when he was 2 to see Buzz Lightyear which he LOVED!!! HOWEVER, What he DID NOT LOVE was the loudness in the theatre, the darkness when Zurg came on or the one thing I had not even thought about….the VERY DARK, LOUD and SCARY preview of the Disney’s Dinosaur movie before hand – b/c of that stupid preview, 1/2 of the kids were either crying or like my little boy, had to be taken right into the lobby b/c he was so scared, he was physically shaking. I did get him back in to see Buzz but we left about 25 minutes but that was okay b/c he was smiling and happy he got to see Buzz and then he was just ready to go. The movie after that one (about 6 months later) was a major success but he drew from his last experience, knew what to expect and he was also that much older.
I totally agree with you about your child’s tempermant. I was suppose to take my son to see The Lion King – live theatre….last minute he said “I think I’m legric (allergic) to animals and really seemed anxious to go” so, I gave him an out which he GLADLY took and instead, I took my almost 1 yr old fearless daughter.
We were 5 rows from the stage on the left hand side. As soon as I walked in holding her, the guy behind us looked at his wife, made a snarky comment and rolled his eyes. To ALL of our delight Sydney was AMAZING!!! She sat motionless throughout the whole first act…she was just all eyes. By intermission she was tired so when we went back in, I gave her a bottle, she fell asleep until the finale and when she woke, was again motionless and ALL eyes. When the lights came up, someone tapped me on the shoulder…it was the man. He said “I owe you and her an apology….she was amazing – I doubted her but she was amazing”. I smiled, kissed her and agreed…she WAS amazing! I don’t know if I would have tried taking her as a toddler but as almost a 1 yr old, I simply couldn’t have asked her to be ANY better.
The motive to my story? As I said – Take Annie…you NEVER truly really know how your child will react to something until you put them into that situation. You never know…she might just surprise you! But, if she doesn’t and wants to leave, then leave with a smile on your face b/c she ate popcorn and saw some of her 1st movie with her daddy and you both left with a smile on your faces. Who could ask for anything more?!
Blessings to you, Heather & Annie,
Sarah, The Crazy Baby Mama says:
You know your kid better than anyone.
But I do urge caution: The Smurfs could scar her for life.
Mine are 4 and 2.5 and we still haven’t braved a regular theater environment yet. On the other hand, we are VERY big on the drive-in. We’re already counting down the days until it opens and it’s warm enough to go. We take food, strollers, blankets, the pack n’ play and just enjoy the night. The kids love the giant movie an it’s late so they start getting ready to cuddle. Anyway, if that’s not an option for you I say give her a chance, you never know and even if you have to leave early it’s a new experience for her and memory for you.
I took Clare to Toy Story 3 when she was about that age…she made it about 3/4 through the movie and then was done…and I had to walk with her up and down the long hallway leading to the theater room while the other kids finished watching. Not a bad experience all in all.
As stated above: be very careful to miss the previews. When I took my 2 year old to his first movie- Toy Story 3- the previews scared him and it ruined movies for him until we took him to HOP last weekend.
You know the money that you take to Vegas that you’re completely okay with losing? That’s the same money that you pay for a movie ticket for an 18 month old with. It’s a gamble. But completely worth it. Whether she makes it through the whole movie, half of it, or starts screaming during the opening credits, it’s an experience with her that you’ll remember forever. Someday you’ll get to tell her about when Daddy took her to see her first movie. I say go for it!!!
I completely agree.
My son has always been super sensitive to what he sees on screen. He also doesn’t have the attention span for a long movie… especially when he can’t follow the plot. Think about watching a movie in a foreign language with strange allusions that you can’t puzzle out from the visuals… it’s not much fun (I speak from experience). Some kids are so mesmerized by the pretty moving colors, they don’t care if it makes sense, they’ll just look at the colors for an hour and a half.
My 3 year old son will be seeing cars 2 when it comes out, as his first Theater Movie. He has had a couple practice runs with full-length videos at home; some of them he enjoyed all the way through (cars = no villians), some he enjoyed once he was 2.5+ and i sat and explained the tense parts (toy story) and some he just can’t tolerate (nemo… too much dialogue, and too much tension and stuff that can’t be “explained to okay” as a 2yo can understand). Trying similar full length movies at home while he sits in his high chair has been really valuable in figuring out what he can handle, and estimating how he’ll do sitting still in a theater.
Okay, here are my personal rules for movies and kids. I have lots of experience with this, as I worked as a nanny for more than two dozen families before having kids of my own.
— Never go to a movie that has just been released. I wait until the film has been in theatres for at least 2 weeks. This way, there are far fewer audience members; that equals fewer people to piss off!
Also, waiting a couple of weeks gives you a chance to read reviews by other parents — always a plus (and definitely recommended.) Look for reviews by parents of kids who are a similar age. Many “kids films” are not at all appealing to very young kids (many are too frightening, too sad, or just too boring because the story goes flying over the baby’s head.)
— Never go to a Friday, Saturday or Sunday showing, and avoid night shows. You’re more apt to have adults and teens at these shows. You want to avoid them as much as possible, as they’re *not* apt to be forgiving, even at an animated kids’ film.
When I go to see an animated film at 9 or 10PM on a Saturday night, I’m going because I *DON’T* want to deal with obnoxious kids. (Remember, many of us parents go to the movies to *escape* our kids for a little while! So there’s nothing worse than encountering “noticeable” kids at the movies or restaurant at a late hour! That gets me absolutely nuts!)
— The best showings for kids are around 11 AM — kids are still in school, adults are in work (and it’s a bit early for their lunch break.) Most of the people at the theatre are kid-friendly during this time-period.
Personally, I really dislike kid-friendly showings. There’s just too much distraction. And if your child is too young to sit for at least an hour in front of the TV, then these distractions will be a recipe for disaster.
— Never take a child to a movie unless she/he has the ability to sit and watch a 60 minute commercial-free television show (something geared toward kids) or film. Ideally, they should be able to physically sit for at least one hour.
I’ve found that if the child can’t sit for more than a few minutes without getting distracted, then your movie-going experience is going to be a nightmare. No exceptions. (In my experience, at least.) They should be slack-jawed and “in the zone” for virtually the entire hour.
— Always have a 1-to-1 ratio of parents and kids. (Remember this one for the future!) There’s nothing worse than having to pull a well-behaved child out of the theatre because the other child is pitching a fit. It’s a recipe for a double melt-down.
Honestly, I think Annie is a bit too young to enjoy a feature-length film. A majority of kids her age just can’t pay attention for that long. And they tend to frighten/sadden *very* easily.
I’ve found that once a child can speak in sentences or reaches the age of 2, they’re old enough to go to a movie, providing he/she can sit through an hour-long TV show/movie. It’s just something I’ve noticed over the years.
Minimally verbal or not-yet-verbal kids tend to do quite poorly at movies. It helps to have a child who is a strong communicator, as many kids end up with fears, concerns, etc. due to themes or issues presented in the film. The younger kid can’t verbalize that she’s now scared that there’s a monster under the bed, because of something she saw in the film, so it can lead to problems. Younger children are less apt to fully understand the film, so this can just contribute to fears, concerns, etc. that cannot be properly addressed due to the child’s lack of verbosity.
Anyways, that’s my sage advice for you. *LOL*
Best of luck!
These points are brilliant! As a mother of 3 who loves the movies, I can’t agree more. The only thing I would add is the ability to respond to your commands (i.e. be able to follow a request to sit down and keep their voice to a whisper).
These points are brilliant! As a mother of 3 who loves the movies, I can’t agree more. The only thing I would add is the ability to respond to your commands (i.e. be able to follow a request to sit down and keep their voice to a whisper).
I think it all depends on what your own expectations are. Given her nature and her age, don’t go if you expectation is that you will get to watch a movie with your daughter because there’s a strong possibility, almost a likelihood, that you will spend at least some of your time out of your chair and a lot of the time when you ARE in your chair trying to keep her focused. But if your expectation is simply to share an outing with your daughter that will provide a lot of moments of joy for both of you, go right ahead. I suppose the strongest gauge is whether she enjoys watching television. If she does, she should get something out of a movie experience. If she doesn’t then it would be like taking her to a super-sized version of something she’s not particularly fond of in the first place. Just pick your times carefully and try to go during a time of day that will best suit her but also make the cinema a nice place to be. After all, you’re taking her to a kid’s movie and even if your angel lives up to her name, there’s no guarantee all the other monsters will stay in their caves!
My mum just took my 4yo son to see Mars needs Moms, we were really worried that he wouldn’t take to it so as an experiment to lead up to taking him to Cars 2 as a late birthday party, we said they could go on a Nana/G’son date, he walked out of the theatre bug eyed, my mum asked him what he thought of it and for the first time out of his mouth he said “that was AMAZING Nana!” so a hit definitely. Would I have taken him at Annies age – no, he was extremely boisterous, also having a wee girl around the same age as Annie (20 feb 2010) and seeing how she is I dont think i would take her at this age either. But then she doesn’t like to sit still either
Two words: Drive In. Not sure if you have any near you, but it’s a great option for toddlers if you have one available. My oldest was fine in a movie theatre when we first tried (he was probably under 2) but my 2nd was a different story. He wouldn’t sit still, screamed, wanted to explore, didn’t love the loud noise, and only had an attention span of about 30 minutes. We stuck to the discount theatre and drive ins with him until he was about 3.
my thought has always been if it’s a kids movie, and it’s early enough – people should expect kids to be there! and if they don’t like hearing a little bit of noise from said kids, they should go later or go to an adult movie. take her to hop! we are taking our 9,5, and 2 year old boys on easter. it looks like a cute kid show. DO IT!!
Take her if you want to, but very, very few kids movies these days are enjoyable for adults too and Annie is, quite frankly, really too young to understand them. I’d wait until she was at least 3 or 4. If you want to try it out, look for the free summer movie program that almost all theaters across the country run over the summer. They are usually older movies (ours shows some Sesame Street movie every year) and are run on T-W-Th usually mid-day. Theater is filled with parents and kids looking to get out of the heat, and nobody will mind if she’s up and making noise. I’d introduce her that way, if you really want to take her to a movie.
Sarah M. says:
I took my little girl to the Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader (in 3d, no less!) when she was about a month and a half old, I think. It was at the end of its run, and the middle of the afternoon as well, so hardly anyone was there. But at that age she just slept in her car seat, and I could nurse her if she started fussing (none of which applies to you, obviously :P). It would probably be a different story now that she’s 4 months.
Then on the way home, we were stranded on the road for 4 hours in a freak snowstorm (mid-January)(yes that’s the last time I went out to a movie), but that’s a different story.
we are big movie goers in my family (or at least we were, netflix and instant streaming has taken over) and I saw a lot of movies as a small child. my parents had a couple of rules. first, go to a random showing when you are guaranteed to be one of the few people in the theatre. second, get past any fear of kids sitting on the gross movie theatre ground. third, if the kid needs to leave you leave. if there are two parents you can take shifts in the lobby, but if you are alone and the kid doesn’t want to be there, you go. if you force the child to stay when they REALLY don’t want to, then the next time will be a lot harder.
as for how it went? I ran screaming out of time bandits and snow white and would not go back in. but, by the time I was four and return of the jedi came out, I was such a movie going pro that I remember being very annoyed when we took one of my friends and he ran screaming out of the theatre because he was scared of jabba the hut. such a wimp.
We took our daughter to see a free showing of Veggie Tales last summer. She was about 18 months, and the theater showed a free movie every week during the summer – so we took her and figured we’d leave if she didn’t do well. We lasted about 30 minutes! But it was ok – we just left and didn’t worry about it. My husband took her to see Tangled after she turned 2, and same thing – lasted about 30 minutes…even though they paid for that show, we didn’t really care. As long as you prepare yourself before going in, you’ll be fine. If you don’t mind paying for tickets – even though you might not make the whole move- then you’ll be ok! It at least gets them used to going. Have fun with it!
You will never know until you try. If you have to walk out, so be it.
My experience is that the movie theaters are usually too loud for the little ones.
I took my son to his first movie when he was 20 months old. I was scared. He was a lot like Annie — VERY ACTIVE and into EVERYTHING!!!
BUT! I got him all the popcorn he could eat, his own lemonade and he did great.
Take her to a matinee and anticipate having to stand in the aisle while she runs up and down. That way if she does it, you’ll be ok and if she doesn’t…YAY!
I took my son to a moive at about that age (only because I was taking his 5 year old sister) and he was not at all interested in the movie. He just wanted to walk, and walk and walk. With so many stairs this was not a good thing. Can’t say I remember much about that movie.
Perhaps you could take her to a “Sensory Friendly” moving screening. These are usually for families with children on the Autism Spectrum but I’m would hope anyone would be welcome to attend as long as they are tolerant of those around them. Check out AMC participating schedules & locations at http://www.amctheatres.com/SFF/. This was a great opportunity when my ASD son was younger.
My concern with small children in movie theatres isn’t the screaming and crying… as an ECD (early childhood development) practitioner, I have always been taught that tv and movies are extremely bad for young children. For one thing, they are not actually being stimulated. They brains don’t really comprehend what they’re seeing on the screen. Spoken language doesn’t have much meaning unless they’re with the person speaking, and all they’ll see are bright flashing colours that move too fast for their eyes to fully process. Also, every time a television screen flickers, it literally makes a toddler’s brain flicker as well. Screen goes blank for a millisecond, they go blank.
Still (and this is the part of me that’s a human being, not a teacher, speaking :p) for one afternoon, it might be fun. It’s an experience YOU will never forget, even if she does as she grows older. It’ll create a wonderful memory for you, no matter what happens.
amber skalicky says:
Hey Mike! Just wanted to pass on my 2 cents worth. 8 have 2 boys ages 8and 11. We use to go to movies every week. Most of the time we would go to Matinees just before naptime, that way they were in snuggle mode, and as long as they had popcorn and snacks they were happy and content. There were a couple times we had to stand in the hallway of the theatre and watch it standing, but mostly they did awesome. Its always nice to have another person to help so you have a leg barrier incase she wants to just stand and watch by the seats. Be prepared to leave if you need to, but go with the idea of having lots of fun, and you will regardless of the outcome. P.S. its always good to take a second pair of hands when they are that little, imagine carrying her and juggling the popcorn,pop,snacks,and diaper bag. Have fun, and tell jus how it goes
It would be cool to take my almost 5 year old to a movie but I have a talker So we have been to a few drive ins and that works or DVDs. Plus she hates loud noises. But if Annie talks no one will care she is still a cute baby/toddler and you are her daddy, how cute Enjoy, you deserve it, all of you!!!!!
The first time I took my oldest son was on his 2 year birthday to see Madagascar and he did great (but he is very laid back like Maddie). With my youngest, we waited until he was 3 because he is not so great at sitting still (much like Annie). In both cases I smuggled in lots of snacks and sippy cups w/ water in my purse.
We took our son to see the Lion King when he was two (19 now). We waited until the hoopla had died down and went to a middle-of-the-week early show. He did fine except for yelling out “Who has the clicker?” during the preview so we could fast forward through them like we did with videos at home. That was pretty funny, actually.
LOL!!!! Very cute!!!
She will be fine! Since you plan on taking her to a kid movie, if she acts up no one will mind!! You guys will have a great time!!!
cindy w says:
I would say to wait until closer to the time of the movie’s release, then gauge Annie’s attention span. If you turn on, say, a cartoon on Nick Junior, does it keep her attention for the full 22 minutes? Or is she off & running after 30 seconds? (It’s not really fair to gauge her attention span now since she’s in that whole “hey I just learned to walk! See ya later, suckah!” phase.)
I actually wasn’t the one to take Catie to her first movie – that was her baby-sitter, and it was right after she turned 2. We have a theater here that shows older releases of kids’ movies for free, one day a week during the summer. Sort of a way to keep them entertained in the air-conditioning during summer vacation. I don’t even remember what the movie was, I think it was “Horton Hears a Who” (the Jim Carrey-voiced one). But the baby-sitter brought Catie and her own two kids, and she said that she gave them each a baggie of Cheerios and a sippy cup of juice, and all 3 kids sat in their seats, totally riveted, for the whole movie. So, it *could* work out well. You never know.
Oh, just never take her to a movie that starts anywhere close to naptime. It won’t end well. Trust me on that.
My son was a lot like Annie, a constant stream of motion. We tried to take him to several movies from about 2 years on, and it really didn’t go well until he hit the age of 4. Missing the previews and buying lots of snacks does help, but he would still only last about 30-45 minutes. We saw HOP recently, and while it was very cute, there isn’t a lot of action. My son is 7 now and still got pretty wiggly. My best advice to you is don’t rush her. It might still be several more years before you can have the perfect father daughter movie night. However, all kids are different, so I may be completely wrong here.
I took my daughter to her first movie a week before her second birthday. Funny because Annie SO reminds me of my own girl, with the climibing, look at me, I know what I want attitude (she’s five now and while she EXHAUSTS me, she is SO much fun!!) I was worried too, but she did GREAT, and I think it was in large part due to being able to hold an ENTIRE can of puffs the whole time. She thought that was really a big deal. I took puffs and a sippy and she was enthralled. My girl was and is super independent, and insisted sitting in her own seat and not on my lap. She was too light to keep the seat down and it kept folding up on her! Still, she refused to sit in my lap, so she had to sit on the very edge of the seat the whole time. i can totally picture your Annie being the same way!
We found the perfect answer. Drive-in movies! It was great because the kids can move around the car (we had a mini-van so lots of crawling space. ) They didn’t bother anyone if they cried, or we just put up the windows. And usually there was a second feature that was aimed at adults and by that time the kids would fall asleep and we could actually watch a movie we wanted to see. Our kids are teens now and going to the drive in is still something we do quite often and we all still love it. Hope there is one near you!
I think it probably be best to wait a little bit longer. That’s just my opinion though. Whatever you decide good luck!
Trisha Vargas says:
I think you’ll never really know the perfect age to try this until you actually try it. We thought my 2-1/2 year old, Dannica was ready and took her to see Hop last weekend. About 40 minutes into it, she was done. She was yelling in the theater that she had to go poop at the top of her lungs and that she was ready to go home to play with her toys. We quietly packed up, hit the rest room on the way out and will catch the rest on video when it comes out. Now we know she is not quiet ready, so we’ll wait about another 6 months and try again. That’s really all you can do.
Good Luck! Hope it’s a great Annie & Daddy date. Don’t go in with super high expectations and if works out, awesome and if not, well you tried it and got some time in and that’s awesome too!
Hi Mike. I am also an avid movie goer (well, I used to be) and was very excited to take my son (now 5.5) to his first movie. Technically, his first movie was a “Mommy & Me” matinee at 2 months which he nursed & slept through. He wasn’t so much about “The Constant Gardener”…not an art house movie fan.
Like some others have mentioned, my son has some auditory processing challenges, so standard showings are way too loud and overstimulating for him. I would highly recommend those sensory showings for ALL kids as they are less intrusive to their senses.
Also, someone said it above and I COULD NOT AGREE MORE. I am not sure who makes these decisions but anyone who thought that 45 MINUTES of previews, commercials and a SHORT FILM before “Toy Story 3” even started was a good idea is clearly not a parent. Try to ask the theater what the actual start time of the movie is before getting there early. Annie will likely have had it before even laying eyes on Papa Smurf.
Jessi @ Quirky Cookery says:
Well does she like the Smurfs? Maybe show her an old show at some point and see if it holds her attention at all, then come movie time, she may love the familiarity…..or you may realize she can’t stand little blue things.
Either way, it’d be totally worth it to give it a go. It’ll be fun and if you have to skip out at some point, you can still have special Daddy time with her for the rest of the movie time somewhere else .
Marnie * says:
At that age it is really hard for them to sit still and watch the movie. You would probably spend most of your time trying to keep her happy, so I would wait until she was older (you don’t want to spend $12 for your ticket & $30 for your popcorn/snacks/soda and not be able to enjoy the experience/movie). You can always have a movie day at home. Get a movie you & Annie haven’t seen, make some snacks, cozy up on the sofa and have fun.
Jen L. says:
I think she’ll be ok. She will LOVE the experience. I took my son when he was just shy of 2 to see a kids’ matinee of Kung Fu Panda. We sat on the first row of the stadium seating section so he could stand if he wanted to (which he did). Advice: Get there very close to start time so she (hopefully) won’t discover the stairs! My kid was the one climbing all the way to the top for 15 minutes before the movie started.
Rumour Miller says:
I have taken my young daughters to the movies. Here is what helped me to stay sane. Go during a week matinee when it won’t be as busy. Sit where there is more leg room (back row for us) and let the child stand, sit, walk up and down the row etc. Buy/bring snacks. Lots and lots of snacks. I think if Annie is able to watch some movies at home then that is a good indicator of how focused she may or may not be at the movie.
Be prepared to leave when all hell breaks loose.
Something no one has mentioned yet. Kids under 3 are usually free for movies (although once they charged me for Up in 3D, but I think the movie theater was ripping me off). Plus, if you leave early enough, they might give you a rain check if you ask for one. It’s totally worth a try! As long as my kids have popcorn (or an equally yummy toddler friendly food) you might be good. Or, you might have to run out of the theater avoiding the death glares of the people who had no idea that going to a kid’s movie meant that *gasp* there would be children there.
Laurie SL says:
I’d stick to a “mommy/daddy and me” showing if possible – the crowd is more forgiving, even if there were to be only a handful of people at a regular matinee showing. My 2 year old is similar to Annie – cannot be contained, needs to walk around, talk to everyone, touch EVERYTHING. I would never dream of taking my daughter to a movie at this point, but might consider it if it were a “mommy and me” special showing. Just my two cents Good luck and please update if you do end up going!
katrina @ They All Call Me Mom says:
Annie will be enthralled at first by the HUGE screen and all the animation. She will probably sit still for the first 20 minutes or so. It can be very captivating for a baby her age — until the newness of it all wears off. Then she’ll start looking around, noticing the people around her, etc.
So bring food. Food almost always keeps them quiet.
Bring lots of PUFFS.
Here’s two cents from someone who doesn’t have children: If the screening is specifically for babies and parents- yes! Go! Enjoy! However (and again, I don’t have kiddos so please take this for what it’s worth) I do not understand people who bring young toddlers (say, under 18 months) to movie theaters (even for children’s movies). It’s not fair to the child, who is expected to stay quiet and still when it’s not in their nature and it’s TOTALLY not fair to everyone else in the theater.
That said, yeah totally go to a daddy-baby screening. That sounds like a good place to test the waters
I have been taking my son to movies since he was about that age. We go on a Saturday or Sunday and go to a matinee. You will see that is when everyone else brings their little kids too and you will feel right at home regardless of how she behaves. And since you can bring in a diaper bag you can bring in your own snacks and drinks! Win Win!
I took Brady to see Hop, and it was a really cute movie. He LOVED it!
Just try it, the worse that will happen is she is miserable and you leave without seeing the end.
14 months is fine, and hope is a really good movie for a kid that age. What you need to do is take her during the week to the earliest screening possible. The smaller the theatre you can find the better (so avoid the huge chains and try to find a small theatre with only four or five screens). If you do those two thing the only people there will be you and other people with kids and/or the elderly population that will coo over her for the entire movie.
It’s a movie designed for children. You will be fine taking Annie. She might not sit still the whole time, but if you bring some snacks along and a couple small quiet toys for her to hold onto, she may be fine. How else are you going to know unless you try?
You’ll never know until you try. You can always leave if she’s running around causing mayham. No one will judge (at least, no one who’s got at least half a brain and any experience with kids).
I’d say try it but be prepared to leave early if you need to. I agree to make it a positive experience (for both of you!). A suggestion that i haven’t noticed in any of the other comments is to NOT take her to a 3D showing… those glasses are a pain and most toddlers don’t keep them on (or understand why they should). I think if she took them off, the movie wouldn’t hold her attn as well because it won’t be as clear. Just my thoughts, good luck!
My daughters are the same temperaments as your daughters, respectively. My 3 1/2 yo is pretty laid back, very sweet, and extremely cuddly/affectionate, while my 20 month old is a whirlwind of energy that can’t be contained. While I didn’t take my older daughter to her first movie until she was 3 (although she would have been fine much younger), just the thought of taking my “baby” to a movie at this age gives me heart palpitations and makes me break out in hives. I don’t think she’d make it past the opening theme song before she’d be running up and down the aisles talking to everyone there, climbing over the chairs, and finding things to destroy. So, for me, with my 20 month old, it’s a no-go. I will wait until she can sit still longer than 3 minutes, because otherwise it won’t be enjoyable for anyone, and it would be a waste of money.
If you do take Annie, let us know how it goes. I’d love to hear if your busy girl becomes so enraptured by the movie that she manages to sit still through it. There’s always hope!
I worked in a cinema and people took newborns …….infants, babies, toddlers to the movies All. The. Time. They did fine. I think it’s the environment….so different and being dark but light up on the screen. Annie is amazing and I bet she’ll do well.
Shannon O says:
Amazingly all 3 of my kids have done great in the theater – even my youngest and most active one. They really love the animated ones the best at a young age. Rio comes out this weekend, and I bet Annie would love it. Our youngest loves to eat the popcorn too, so when he gets restless, I just make sure to grab some popcorn and a coke and he’s good to go for a little longer. I hope Annie loves her first movie with dad.
My close friend spent almost 30 dollars taking her 1 year old kid to the movies and they only stayed for about 20 minutes before he began going crazy. She tried it again when he was 2 with the same outcome, but a little more expensive. I wish I could take my son, but he loves to talk and ask questions, so I won’t even try it.
Give it a try! You can always leave if you need to. I recommend going a little late on purpose, though — a lot of the previews/early commercials aren’t kid-friendly sometimes to begin with, so you might lose her attention span right off the bat and maybe won’t be able to get it back by the time the actual movie starts.
we are in the same position with our 26 month old son right now. i want to take him to see “rio” and the second “cars” movie when it comes out. we are talking about going to the small theatre in town during the day when not alot of people are there.
i guess you won’t know until you try it. just remember the golden rule that if your child is being loud or acting out to remove them from the theatre!
I think taking her to a “kids’s” movie like Hop or Smurfs would be fine. Most people don’t expect it to be dead silent in a kid’s movie. I think as someone else recommended too… take her in the middle of the week once the movie has been out for a few days, bring lots of toys and snacks and sit near the isle so you can split if you need to haha…
Good luck and just have fun!!
Two (more) words: Weekday Matinee.
My little boy has ALWAYS loved movies. He went to his 1st one when he was only 9 months old (lol!). My trick is to always take him during the week and catch the very first showing. The theater is usually either completely empty, or filled with moms (and dads) who were thinking the same as you (I hope my kid cooperates). This works great during the school months, but the smurfs will come out during summer break so you may want to call the theater first and be sure there are no field trips planned b/c the summer camps catch the early shows as well. And it always helps to go into the theater remembering that she is a toddler and toddlers like to toddle! haha. So sit at the bottom and on the end of the row so when she gets bored with the movie right after the intro music, let her run up and down the aisle while you eat your large popcorn and down it with the large (fountain!!) diet coke. Oh and don’t forget to “shush” Annie every now and then so the other parent’s don’t get the wrong idea.
It totally depends on the child. My eldest daughter we took for her first movie (Cars) at the age of about 2.5 years and she sat for most of it. My son is now 4.5 years old and he cannot sit in the movie for more than about 15 minutes.
Personally I think 18 months is a bit young, but hey, you will never know unless you try at least once. Seems like you got some good advice above.
My mother tells this epic story about how, when I was almost 3, she took me to see Snow White (which was back in the theaters for a short period) and how within five minutes, I was so scared I spent two-thirds of the movie screaming my head off. At everything.
As a non-parent, I would say definitely do NOT bring her to the movie early into the release period – or during a time when there are likely to be a lot of people there. I went to see Harry Potter 7 about a week after it came out, and even though it was an evening (7 p.m.) showing, there were a ton of parents with a ton of SMALL kids who spent the time crying/shouting/misbehaving and it was so distracting. (Plus, we can discuss whether you should be bringing your little kids to a PG-13 movie.) I’m pretty tolerant, but there are a lot of people who aren’t and totally flip out about parents who can’t keep their kid together. I think you’d have to be pretty thick-skinned to get out of that unscathed.
Secondly, I’d say make sure the movie is kid-friendly and not going to completely terrify Annie. My mom didn’t really think about whether Snow White would scare me before we go in…and it ruined it for me. I think there are websites out there that rate the family-friendliness of different movies so you can choose wisely. Once Smurfs comes out, see if there’s anything parents are saying that might dissaude you. Also, consider things like whether Annie can tolerate loud noises. Sudden noises. The dark. Really bright fast-moving everything. My sister was terrified of the dark when she was a kid and couldn’t go to movies for a while because it got too dark for her at times and she panicked. Just the kinds of things to consider.
Third, Annie seems like an active baby. She might not be ready for the expectation that she sit down and watch for 90+ minutes – and other theater-goers might not be ready for you to be chasing her around, or for her to end up interfering with their movie experience.
In sort, I’d say you might want to wait until she’s a bit older – or take her to a kid-friendly showing. Otherwise, you might very well be the guy with a screaming baby in the theater, and as much as you want to share that with Annie, you also have to think about the person you were years ago who would’ve been INCANDESCENT about the same thing – and act accordingly.
New Winnie the Pooh Movie comes out July 15, bring her before or after nap, but not during, and not too close to bedtime , and be prepared to leave if she looses interest. The first 23-30 min might be fun though.
I think that the important thing to remember is that everyone else will have paid money to be there too. Not to say that Annie needs to be totally quiet, but if she is totally ruining the enjoyment of everyone else in the theatre that is not cool.
How long can she sit through a movie at home? If you get a good 10 minutes in, you’re not going to enjoy a movie experience anymore than she is. If she is enraptured with The Lion King and sits through the whole or close to the whole thing, go for it.
I have to ask too…is Annie really interested in a movie date? Or would she be happier at the park or one of those indoor playgrounds?
I’m sure you can tell that I’m not a huge fan of children at movies when they are so young. We have an 11, 9 and 2 year old. We love movies and it is a big deal to see ALL the movies in our house. But, we don’t take them until they can sit through a movie at home and they can respond, somewhat, to our requests to sit down and keep their voices down.
Katie B says:
My son is like Annie, always on the move. I took him to a kids screening of Planet 51 last summer when he was about 20-21 months old and he did really well. He was into TV by then. If you do a regular screening, just make sure to do it during the day when there will be fewer people. Now that my son’s 2.5 years old he sits really well during movies, but he talks A LOT. I wouldn’t take her to a non-kids movie. She’ll be bored and other people will be annoyed.
Amanda M. says:
As long as you’re going in the afternoon to either a “Mommy & Me” screening or a kids movie, where there’ll be other parents and small children, you’re good to go.
A few years ago I went to see something PG-13 on a Friday night and a woman brought her baby. Who cried and cried. Finally, an usher came to escort her out and she flipped out worse than her kid, yelling things like “WHAT, I CAN’T GO OUT ANYMORE?” Not to a late-night movie with your screaming baby, woman.
A room full of other parents with little kids aren’t going to throw things at Annie if she’s a little noisy though. And, if she just plain hates it, no one’s gonna make you stay.
That woman should have left on her own accord when her baby would not shush after a few minutes! Rude.
But a Mommy and Me (hey, that is kind of discriminating!) showing would be the perfect venue to see what Annie thinks of the movies. I would think the BIG screen would be absorbing as would all the action.
Because all children act differently in a movie theater, I would say to take her, but be prepared to watch very little of the movie.
Take her to the mommy & me screening, but not to a regular screening. Babies and small children do not belong in a movie (unless specifically scheduled for them, such as the Mommy & Me). It costs a lot of money to go the movies these days, and is extremely inconsiderate to those who go to a regular screening expecting to watch the movie uninterrupted.
Sorry, Mike, I vote no on this. The American Academy of Pediatrics has said that children under age two should not watch TV (or movies) at all. Besides, given how expensive movies are, and how active Annie is, I think it would be a waste of time and money. Why don’t you catch bugs and show them to her, or let her throw rocks into the water, or take her to the park and let her climb? I know it sounds preachy, but that’s how I feel. I would wait until she’s old enough to appreciate the story line.
My daughter was 3 the first time we took her to a movie. We took her to see Tangled last fall and she loved it! Like you, I had been nervous about taking her to a movie so I avoided it. A couple of times I considered those mommy and me showings but there was never a movie showing that I really wanted to see.
I’d say go for. Worst case she doesn’t do well and you have to leave. But, if it does go well, you’ll have had a fabulous father/daughter date night with Annie.
Go for it. As long as you are willing to take her out if she loses it and can’t be calmed down.
exactly… that’s why i would’ve taken my kids younger than 3 yrs old because they wouldn’t understand the whole concept of this is a treat and you have to sit in your seat and behave.
I STRONGLY disagree with the people who say, essentially, take her and if someone complains because she is loud, fidgety, or unruly you should ignore them.
Everyone in the theater deserves to be able to enjoy the movie they’ve paid for, if they’re able to sit quietly in their seats and watch the movie without disrupting others.
Although I totally believe that kids should be allowed to be kids, I also strongly believe there are some places where screaming, running around, and making a general ruckus is simply inappropriate–and the movie theater is one of them.
That doesn’t mean you can’t take Annie to the movies. But it does mean that you have to pay attention to how she’s acting, and if she’s disruptive (for me, this would include crying, talking loudly, and/or running up and down the aisle) you should take her out of the theater–not to punish her, but rather in recognition of the fact that she’s not ready to be there.
Just my opinion.
Just my opinion.
I took both of mine (son & daughter) when they were 3 yrs old for the first time. They understand the concept of watching a big TV (in their eyes) and will sit w/ a drink and popcorn. Anything younger than that, they want to get down and run around. Just my opinion.
Do it! Don’t wait, go to HOP if they have special kiddie showings Mine are all teens now and believe it or not you sort of miss going to the animated movies!!
My son is almost 19 months and sounds A LOT like Annie (Including the picky eating.) I wouldn’t even attempt to bring Mason to a movie…In fact, I think it sounds like a personal hell. I can’t even get him to sit still and watch cartoons at home. But if you are brave enough to try it please keep us updated!
catherine lucas says:
Babies do NOT belong in movie theaters. They have other concepts of life then we do, babies belong in toddler groups and outside in play areas. Or inside at play areas. I personally think they get enough exposure with television already. On the scientific side of things: no two, 3 or four year old for that matter has that long of an interrupted attention span to sit through an hour and a half movie. Plus there is also the fact that they bother other people. This is just a fact, not a wish or a thought. A crying baby upsets the whole audience. If I pay 40 dollar to see a movie, I appreciate it when I can watch it in peace and silence… so to speak. The noise levels in most movie theaters are the pits for children’s ears too nowadays.
Go to the park with Annie… All the movies she did not see when little she can catch up with when she is 18…
Wow! Things are quite different “now-a-days.” You see, there’s this company called Disney Pixar and they make, like, these movies for kids, see. And also there’s all these people with kids who have a certain level of respect for other people with kids. There’s a general understanding that if you’re going into one of these movies about half of the audience will be under the age of 9. Don’t worry, it’ highly unlikely that any of us renegade parents are going to be bringing our kids into whatever movie it is that you’re seeing.
Honestly, my knee-jerk reaction to this post was very much the same. If I am going to any movie other than something “family friendly” film that is targeted for kids, I expect that there will NOT be small children in the theater. Many, many times, this expectation has been broken by parents who bring toddlers or infants into a loud, dark film and then refuse to remove them when they get rowdy or upset. I still remember seeing the remake of the Stepford Wives years ago and watching as a group of four mothers brought in their toddlers……and then let them scream when they inevitably got scared by parts of the movie.
And frankly, even if I am at a “family friendly” film, I do expect children to be removed by their parents if they start crying inconsolably or start running around the theater. I have no problem with kids being reactionary to a movie, or being louder than an adult viewer might (especially given that, as an adult GOING to a kid’s movie, I expect it), but I do know from experience that there are many parents who just throw up their hands, say, “Kids will be kids”, and won’t address things like crying, getting out of seats, throwing food, that sort of thing. Like in any other public sphere – restaurants, shops, the supermarket – that kind of thing is just bad parenting, regardless of who the movie’s marketed towards.
My best friend took my son to a muppets movie a very long time ago. It was a quiet screening as it was near the end of the run and the first screening of the day. My son is a little active shall we say? He danced and sang in the aisles and loved every minute of it.
My husband has regular father and daughter days where they watch a film, go to frankies and bennies, eat too much and veg out on the sofa. It’s a good thing for them both.
So take Annie, but choose your screening carefully, and enjoy it. After all you would you not take Annie to a restaurant for fear that she will play up? No you’d take her and teach her. All social experiences have to be tried and the niceities taught as its your job as a father.
Have you considered taking her to a drive-in movie, where the rules of movie watching are much more lax? Just a suggestion.
Uh….as a parent of three (soon to be four) who has taken her share of kids to the theater, I’d have to say…no.
18 months is very young. Especially since Annabel is such a go-getter, and will not want to sit still. I’ve been to the family and kids’ matinees and even though they’re meant for families, still the kids get antsy and it’s just not that fun.
If you want her to see Smurfs or Hop, wait till they come out on DVD or Netflix, however you crazy kids are watching movies these days. Then she can watch it at home, in an environment where she can get up and move around if she wants. Also, at this age they can get really scared of things that you wouldn’t think would scare them.
The youngest age at which I’d now take a kid to the movies (knowing what I know now) is 3 years old. Even then, the whole family comes so that one parent can take the youngest one out if it gets too intense.
Word to the wise–a lot of Pixar movies are fun, but have intense scenes (Nemo: mom dies from a barracuda attack; Toy Story: there’s usually a “toy in peril” point that can make kids worried, especially Toy Story 3; Monsters, INC: DEFINITELY NOT FOR YOUNGER THAN THREE. My first kid had nightmares about monsters in the closet for six months after he saw that dang movie. Now he loves it, and his younger siblings do too, but two years old was too young to see it!)
Monsters Inc. is my son’s favourite Pixar movie and he’s 17 months old! But I agree, the Pixar films do have their intense moments, all of them.
Karen B says:
I have taken my youngest daughter L to two movies so far. We saw Tangled (Disney’s take on Rapunzel) when she was a few weeks old, and she was really good. She mostly slept or cuddled, and never even jumped at the loud parts. Her second movie was Yogi bear, at about 4 months old. She LOVED it!! She sat or stood on our laps the whole time, staring at the screen and leaning towards it, occasionally getting very excited and bouncing up and down. It was so funny to watch her watching the movie. I was surprised she was so good, as she is also a very busy baby, but she was mesmerized by the lights and colors and especially liked the music.
I bet Annie would have fun with it, too, especially if it is a movie with bright colors (cartoon or live/cartoon combo) and some lively music. Snacks don’t hurt, either!
That photo of Maddie at the movie theater, with that indeed entralled look on her face is awesome. ;o)
On taking Annie to the movies for an (awww, how freakin’ cute) Daddy & Daughter date…? I say, “Go for it!” If she starts to act up, you can always leave the theater for a few minutes, until she calms down. I’m sure she’ll enjoy the movie though.
I took V to mommy and me movies weekly for the year I was off with her. It definitely became more challenging once she became mobile, and her attention span was such that I didn’t try after she turned 1year. One of the local theatres here recognized the need though and on the weekends the have 40 minute showings of animated movies/shorts for the toddler set. Shorter time and reduced cost mean we’d either make it through the whole show or be able to leave without feeling we threw money away.
If you do take her to the ‘big time’ theatre, I’d make sure to have distractions for her, and be prepared to leave if the sitting, huge screen and volume do overload her senses.
Pacific Theaters at The Grove and The Americana do ‘mommy movie monday’ (grandparents and dads are welcome too). You can see the movies they will play all month… I know they did Rio today, I dont know abou next week. I almost went today with my 14 month old and chickened out at the last minute! Goodluck!
Annie sounds a lot like my Nate…I’m not planning to take him to the movies yet. We’re hoping that maybe the prequel to Monsters Inc. will be his first movie theatre movie and he’ll be between 2 and 3 by then. I just know he won’t sit still. He’s not that kind of a kid.
If you go, make sure you tell us how it went!