21 answers

Taking My Children to a Movie Theatre

My daughter (6) has never handled loud sounds very well. She can finally go in public restrooms without freaking out, but she still hates the sound of the hand dryer when someone uses it. My second daughter (almost 4) does better with loud noises. The reason this is an issue is that I would love to take them to see Toy Story 3, but knowing how loud movie theatres are, I know it would be a bad idea. I've heard, though, that if you ask them to turn the sound down, they will sometimes. Does anyone know if this is true, or should we just wait until the DVD comes out? I'd love to take them because I know they'd love it, but if it's too loud, they won't have any fun.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks everyone! I'll probably see if the ear-muff idea works, and if it does, I'll do that. If not, I'll wait until the movie comes out on DVD. In response to one of the answers, though, I wouldn't take her if I thought she couldn't handle it. That's why I asked here to see if I could find another solution. I would never knowingly inflict fright/pain on my child. I think you could have answered in a kinder way.

Featured Answers

take a set of ear muffs or big ear phones they will muffle the sound. My son is the same way we have a set of plush puppy ear phones we take with us and he does fine.

6 moms found this helpful

My cousin didn't like loud noises when she was little, so my aunt and uncle took her to the movies with headphones. They used the industrial ones that people with jackhammers use. It worked really well and it was quite a fashion statement! I would imagine you would be able to get them at Lowe's or Home Depot, or find them online. Good luck!

Updated

My cousin didn't like loud noises when she was little, so my aunt and uncle took her to the movies with headphones. They used the industrial ones that people with jackhammers use. It worked really well and it was quite a fashion statement! I would imagine you would be able to get them at Lowe's or Home Depot, or find them online. Good luck!
H.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

take a set of ear muffs or big ear phones they will muffle the sound. My son is the same way we have a set of plush puppy ear phones we take with us and he does fine.

6 moms found this helpful

I think you would ruin it for everyone else if you ask them to turn the sound down, plus it's usually teens who work in there. It probably won't be done. I would just wait till the DVD comes out. I know that my movie theater here does free movies in the summer (usually older movies). See if any theater in your city does it and test her out there to see if she will tolerate it.

3 moms found this helpful

Hi C.,

I don't think you should ask a theater to accommodate one person (adult or child) UNLESS the sound is so loud or so low that many people are complaining.

Given your 6 year olds fear of loud noises, I would suggest renting the other Toy Story videos that she and you little one can enjoy in the privacy of your home at a sound level that doesn't upset her.

Blessings...

3 moms found this helpful

I have heard of theaters where they have special performances for smaller kids where the sound is not as loud. These are usually in the morning. I would call your local theater and ask.

2 moms found this helpful

I can't imagine them turning down the sound, I have never heard of the idea. You can try and if it is too much, you can leave. Maybe someone else could go with you so the younger girl can stay if she's enjoying the movie.

2 moms found this helpful

My friend bought some headphones for her son who doesn't handle loud noises well. They are the kind used to muffle sounds when you are shooting guns. They worked great for him because they were comfortable (he won't wear earplugs because he doesn't like how they feel) and they just muffled the noise enough to keep him calm without making it too hard to hear. I bought some for my kids for when we go to the airshow and when my family does their fireworks on my grandmother's ranch.

http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/templates/links/link.js...

2 moms found this helpful

my aunt has really sensitive ears and she always wears earplugs to the movies.

And I worked at a movie theatre for 7 years....they wont turn it down. nor will they turn down the ac. They set it for if it was a full theater. The more people in there, the more that will absorb the cold and noise, but for some reason, they dont take into account that it's not always full.

2 moms found this helpful

Ok, to me, this question answers itself. Wait for the movie to come out on DVD! If your daughter is that sensitive to loud noises, why would you even consider taking her to a movie theater where you KNOW it will be loud?

Sorry, but I am so tired of people taking kids to movies when- for whatever reason- it isn't appropriate and the child is going to be upset, cry, etc. I feel bad for the child when that happens and it isn't fair to other people who are being quiet and have paid for their tickets. In this case, the issue isn't that the movie is age-inappropriate, but that you KNOW the movie theater experience will probably NOT be a good one for your little girl already. You KNOW the sound will upset her- why even take the chance?

I have never heard of a movie theater turning down stereo sound just to accommodate one person, nor should they have to. It is up to YOU as the parent to be responsible for what's best for your child- and that includes missing a movie if the sound will upset your daughter.

Just because its a kid's movie and they would 'love' it doesn't mean they HAVE to go to see it. The DVD will be out in just a few months and you can all enjoy it at home where you know your daughter will be comfortable. Everyone will have a good time then.

2 moms found this helpful

I would use some earphones or fluffy earmuffs. Most theatre's do special kid screenings during the summer. Here in Austin they have the lights up a little and the sound isn't so loud. There are also theatre's that do shows for "special needs" kids. The lights aren't turned down and you can bring your own food.

2 moms found this helpful

I agree Elizabeth R could have answered in a nicer way. I am an OT and without trying things out or therapeutically approaching situations you may never have your daughter get over her sound sensitivity or at least adapt to deal with it. You can't hide her from every loud instance.

I have found movie theaters to not be that loud unless it is an action packed movie. I would recommend headphones, earplugs or earmuffs and I would also talk to the management when you buy your tickets that you would like a refund if you only make it a few minutes into the movie. Explain your situation nicely. Usually people can be sensitive to that (unless they expect to sell out, then they may not let you to do that).

I have heard, (but have not used it myself for patients) that the Listening Program can be helpful for people to overcome sound sensitivity. If you google it, maybe you can find a person in your area certified to give the Listening Program. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

My cousin didn't like loud noises when she was little, so my aunt and uncle took her to the movies with headphones. They used the industrial ones that people with jackhammers use. It worked really well and it was quite a fashion statement! I would imagine you would be able to get them at Lowe's or Home Depot, or find them online. Good luck!

Updated

My cousin didn't like loud noises when she was little, so my aunt and uncle took her to the movies with headphones. They used the industrial ones that people with jackhammers use. It worked really well and it was quite a fashion statement! I would imagine you would be able to get them at Lowe's or Home Depot, or find them online. Good luck!
H.

1 mom found this helpful

Movie theatres will not turn the volume down. They may say they will to humor a complaining customer but they don't really turn it down. They may turn it down for a few minutes but they eventually turn it back up when the movie comes on.

I am very sensitive to sound waves. I found this out when I was in college at OU. My Psych. Professor had a machine that produced sound waves at different frequencies. I couldn't hear the sound but I was majorly uncomfortable and he stood watching me squirm and then told me what had happened. The sound waves hit my body, since I couldn't hear them I didn't know they were happening. He told me I would have issues with sounds and when I go to a movie I have to be very careful about where I sit. I look for the speakers if I can find them I sit away from them. I also find that if I sit closer to the back, nearly against the back wall that the sound waves don't bother me hardly at all. You can try to visit with the manager of the theatre by phone and ask him about the sound system.

On top of the ear muffs you might see about taking a pillow she can hold in front of her if sounds waves bother her too.

1 mom found this helpful

I know what you are going thru. My daughter is 5 and refuses to go to the movies. I took her once to see Horton hears a who and she freaked out! She wanted to leave and was crying. So I waited a while thinking maybe she was just little. I took her to see UP. We didn't even make it thru the previews. She was screaming to get out of the theatre. I have told her mommy will get you head phones to block out some of the noise. She refuses. So we wait now until movies come out on DVD. But suggestions from me to you would be to get some of those head phones that cover your ears and see if that helps. Along with asking them to turn it down a bit. Which yes if you ask they will turn it down. But if it's a full theatre they won't turn it down that much. It's better to wait a week or so when the theatre won't be as full. I know that head phones can be expensive. You could also get those foam ear plugs. They are very cheap! Since she is older she may tolorate those more than my 5 year old would. See if that helps at all for her.
Hope it all works out.
J.

1 mom found this helpful

C., I don't know if this is a little late, but you should call your local theatre and ask if they have performances where the sound level is reduced (most do). Also, I used to use headphones with my son, he was a little embarrassed, so I would put a hat on too. When he got older, he could tolerate earplugs (soft spongy ones) which were easier to transport and cheaper. Despite his noise sensitivity, he loves going to the theatre.
I hope you all have fun.

1 mom found this helpful

Not sure where you live, but AMC Theaters has a sensory friendly program available in many towns (i.e., Framingham). Once a month they offer a 10am showing of a selected (usually kid friendly) film. The lights are dimmed, but not off, the volume is softer than usual, and children may be up walking around.

Below is a link to the website. The program is sponsored by the Autism Society of America.
http://www.amcentertainment.com/Programs_and_Offers/Progr...

Hope this helps.
E.

1 mom found this helpful

As far as movies go - many UA theaters offer free kids movies during the summer - the sound is always turned down less during these movies than during normal ones. Toy Story 3 won't be out for free yet but this may be a good way to expose them to the movies. Have fun!!

I know I am a little late to respond, but I took my baby to a special "moms" movie showing at 10;30am where it was specially organized for moms with premobile babies. I could not believe how loud the theatre was!! I went to the manager twice and insisted they turn the sound down so the little ones would not harm their sensitive little ears, and the second time they told me they could not turn it down. So - I would n't count on that!
(but I know you received many other good suggestions!)
good luck!

Hi C., Toy Story 3 is due to be played at the AMC theatres that do the sensory program (check the link someone else already posted for locations all around the country). These have the sound turned down. A great option.

And don't listen to anyone who is on your case about acclimating. Yes, it's important for some sensory issues, but we're talking about little kids at a movie, not exactly a life-changer (unless they're planning on being movie critics). They very often crank up that noise to ear-ringing decibels -- some theaters are WAY worse than others -- and nobody should have to learn to acclimate to that (unless they WANT to damage their hearing). I think we should all listen to little kids who think it's too loud. For their undamaged ears, it probably is.

And to the person who insisted you should just wait for the DVD -- umm, the OP is looking for solutions so they won't have to do that, as going to the movies (minus the noise) can be a very exciting and fun experience for children. I've personally been waiting for a way to take my autistic child to the movies for a long time, and was very happy to hear about the AMC sensory program a while back. Other than that, the earmuffs are a great idea.

ear plugs. They dampen the sound, but still able to hear, especially just the movie. The loud, distracting noise of the crowd would be greatly lessened. Also, wait for a matinee a couple weeks after it opens. HTH

First of all the crowds are going to be crazy when Toy Story comes out, so be prepared for that.

A theater can lower the sound a little bit, but I do not think it is going to make enough difference for your child. Remember everyone else in the theater is there to get the whole experience..

Maybe you could get her some ear plugs? Maybe get an assortment of different ones.. They will block some of the noise but not all of it in the theater. She will be able to understand but not with the intenseness of the sound.

I wounder if you could call the theater manager and see if they would let you go into a theater and try out ear plugs now? Many day time movies are not busy right now since school is still in session, you are less likely to disturb others.. Go with just the 6 year old so you can really work with her. This way you and your daughter could see if they help.

It would be so disappointing to stand in line, get all of your snacks sit down and realize, your daughter would not be able to handle the Toy Story movie.. If she cannot handle it , take your 4 year old and do something else for the 6 year old..

I'm not sure if there are any near you, but what about going to the drive-in? You can control the sound yourself through your car stereo or portable radio and it's a fantastic experience. We take our daughter and friends several times a summer. We pack sandwiches and snacks, a couple of sleeping bags for the back of the van, a ball or active-type toys for before the show starts, put her in her jammies and have a great family evening. The cost for the ones near us is $20 per car. You could Google "drive-in theater" and your state to find out if there are any near you.

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