23 answers

What Age to Start Taking Toddler to Movies

My daughter is 2 1/2 and I'm wondering if that is too early to take her to the movie theater. I'm not sure if she would be interested enough to sit through the whole movie. At home she sometimes can sit through a whole movie if you sit there and watch it with her. I would love to take her to the movie for a mommy/daughter day, but I want to make sure it's not unheard of to take a 2 year old. Also, do they have little booster seats that kids can sit on in the movie theater? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

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I started taking my daughter to movies, plays, concerts, etc with me at 6 months. Just sit near the end of the row so that if she gets antsy, you can take her out without having to climb over other people in the dark.

My daughter is 2 1/2 yrs old too. I just started taking her to movies. She still doesn't sit through the whole thing, but she is good. She likes to stand up and watch through the seats. We get candy or popcorn and a drink so that she has something to do. Then we find a seat near a wall so she can walk around if she gets antsy without bothering anyone or having to leave the movie. Some movies she falls asleep, but usually she is captivated with the big screen and all the noise. It is exciting for her.

A little about me: I am a stay at home Mom of 3 wonderful children, ages 2 1/2, 9, and 10 yrs old. I am married to my high school sweetheart and very much in love.

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We took our son for his third birthday and he did well until the popcorn ran out! Just be prepared to exit early if your child loses interest, I guess. Our theater does have boosters! Have fun!!!

J.,
I'd look around your area and see if anyone offers Free Summer Movies for kids (all the local theatres near here do). They are during the week so there aren't many older kids.
Plus it's FREE so if you've got a child unwilling to stay through the movie at least you aren't out anything. I'd not buy concessions for the first movie unless it's popcorn-(I'd take in a bottle of water for your little girl with a TOP). If you DO have to leave not having to gather up all the cups of stuff will be easier.
My 3 yr old is fearless in some ways but doesn't like dark or loud noises-so I tried to tell her what the theatre is like (when we go in it will look like...., then we sit and they turn down the lights so we can see the screen better-that sort of thing). She does much better when prepared in a new situation.
I agree with the advice you got from someone suggesting you watch a movie at home and see if she will sit through it first b/f venturing out, especially if you don't have a "free" option available.
:-) Good Luck

If she'll partially, almost all the way watch a movie at home with u then I say go for it! The noise is so loud and the picture is so huge... My little girl was just captivated! Just remember go tee before movie and don't forget some popcorn and coke. That's the best treat ever during a movie. Lol.
Also if your chld gets cranky when tired I'd go after the nap! She'll stay up the whole movie and shouldn't get loud. Jut make sure it's a kid movie. Of course! Have fun! Get her all excited about going boost the experience up as "so cool" it's a huge movie and just tell her all about it like it's the most awesome thing ever! So she'll be so excited about going!

My daughter is 2 1/2 yrs old too. I just started taking her to movies. She still doesn't sit through the whole thing, but she is good. She likes to stand up and watch through the seats. We get candy or popcorn and a drink so that she has something to do. Then we find a seat near a wall so she can walk around if she gets antsy without bothering anyone or having to leave the movie. Some movies she falls asleep, but usually she is captivated with the big screen and all the noise. It is exciting for her.

A little about me: I am a stay at home Mom of 3 wonderful children, ages 2 1/2, 9, and 10 yrs old. I am married to my high school sweetheart and very much in love.

Hey J.!
My son was 20 months when we first took him to the movies. With the big screen and the loud noise it kept him into the movie. Towards the end he started getting antsy and he ended up falling asleep at the last 20 minutes of the movie. All in all it was a pretty good experience and he really liked it-the part that he stayed awake for. Now my son is very active and he made it through the majority of the show. I think your daughter is old enough and would probably enjoy the big screen. We didn't use a booster seat he just sat on our laps. You may want to warn her ahead of time of how loud it is because he was a little surprised at first when the show started playing. Hope it goes well if you decide to take her. Good luck!

T.

I think it depends a lot on the child. I based my decision on how my children do at home. My daughter is a big movie watcher and would go sit through a 4 hour movie if I let her and she has been that way since she was about 2. My son on the other hand is 3 1/2 and he still can't make it 30 minutes at home. We have taken him to 2 movies at the theater but he has trouble making it to the end. He wants to get up and walk around and talk. The second movie we went to was at Warren in Moore and the seats rock so I actually rocked him to sleep about half way into it which is the only way he made it. I would suggest trying a cheap theater first so that if you have to leave it doesn't cost you a lot. We did that the first time with both of our children and it worked well. The first movie we were the only people in the theater so my son talking and walking in the row where we were sitting was not a problem. I probably won't try taking him again until he is a little older. Hope this helps!

J.,

I work as a nanny and my best advise from over 30 children which includes my own is to wait until 3 or 3 1/2. I have only had one exception to the rule and he will watch tv or stay in front of a computer for 6 or 7 hours and his mother will let him unlike me when I am with him. I recently took two of the 4 year girls (cousins) for a day out with just me and one did fine and the other wanted to leave after 25 minutes and would not be quiet (we were the only ones in the movie thank goodness).

Where I live we have the summer movie series for children every Wednesday and it is either free or cost $1.00 and it is full of children so you might check into that since the adults who attend know that the movies is full of children so they what they can expect.

J.

Try the dollar movies first or choose a movie that you will be okay with leaving if she gets too restless. If you choose a children's movie, there will be lots of other young kids and no one will give you the "evil eye" if she's a little restless.

Just this week, for the first time, we took our 4 year old twin boys to a 90 minutes 3-D movie .... it was a part of their birthday experience. They were in awe of the big screen, the 3-D effect and the loud sound. They were not intimidated by the screen or the movie playing on it. They enjoyed the whole experience, were quiet for most of the time. One of them wanted to sit on my lap towards the last 20-30 minutes maybe because the suspense was building up in the story ... but when he sat on my lap, he was quiet and attentive again.
I waited for them to turn 4 .... because at home, they can sit thru the TV ads and watch programs back-to-back for more than 45 minutes. I also wanted to make sure they did not disturb the movie-going experience of others. They now very much understand why to be polite and how to be so.
Just before we went into our theatre room, I made sure they emptied their bladders so we could avoid a trip in the middle of the movie.
Our experience was a very positive one ... so, I would say, 4 is a very good age for boys.

J.,
Hello. I agree with others that it all depends on your child. My daughter was almost 3, she could have sat through a movie at the theater much earlier. However, here's my personal issue, most movies have scary parts and my daughter gets very concerned by this, so I waited until she was a bit older to handle those parts, which I just had to whisper to her what was going on and that it was "pretend" and that we had to keep watching because everything will okay. Her first movie, we picked up a booster seat, but she still sat in my lap the whole time. Then, the other movies we've been too, she chooses to sit in her own seat, but I just put my leg on her seat a little to keep it down. She doesn't like the booster seats because they're hard plastic. However, every theater I've been to the past year from WA state, to Joplin, MO to Tulsa, OK all have the booster seats. Call the theater to check if that's important to you. We are enjoying some free movies offered during the week at one theater; however, you should arrive about 45 minutes early for those because around here a lot of daycares show up about 30 to 40 minutes early and for a first movie experience that's not the best (to have to wait that long). I took my daughter to a 3-D movie (called Under the Sea), it was short about 40 minutes; however, she didn't like the 3-D glasses at all, she keep saying they're not for little kids and they aren't. So, stick with a regular movie (non-3D) and probably animated too. Those are my thoughts. Hope it helps. Have a great time whenever you decide to go.
~ J.

Hi there. Our daughter will be 3 this month and around 6 months ago took her to a movie and we had to leave early. I think she was bored. HOWEVER :) about 3 weeks ago I took her to see Ice Age 3 and she loved it!!! Sat through whole thing and kept talking about it when we left. Im sure that it didn't hurt that I got a water and a big ol popcorn that she chowed down on

We took our son when he was 2 and he did great. We saw Kung Fu Panda. It was his first time eating popcorn too, so that helped. The potty breaks were a little hard, but we just hurried back each time. He's now 3 and we just went and swe Ice Age 3 in 3D. He did ok, but the 3D is not that great for little kids. The glasses are way too big and dont stay on well. He was fine watching them without though. Just make sure you know the movie you are going to see. I didnt relize there would be so many scary dinosaurs in ice age and my son was scared.
As for the boosters, if you go somewhere like the Rave, they have Stadium seating? That's where we go and you dont even need a booster. Plus the arm rest goes up and makes the seat a double for snuggling.
Good Luck!!

I started taking my daughter to movies, plays, concerts, etc with me at 6 months. Just sit near the end of the row so that if she gets antsy, you can take her out without having to climb over other people in the dark.

Every Summer some of our local businesses provide the means for free movies to be shown at our local theatre. The theatre was built in the first part of the 1900's so there is a comfortable seating and a balcony. All the movies are free. They are usually movies you can rent on DVD, such as Snow White, Mary Poppins, Shrek...movies you more than likely have at home but may not have seen in a theatre. They show at various times throughout one day a week.

So, I would look up what is going on at your local Library, they sometimes have a movie time during Summer, check the newspaper se if there are free or cheap movies being offered somewhere, and finally it really depends on your child and if you are willing to get up and leave if they get tired of sitting.

Hi J.,
Two and a half is a little early in my opinion, but all kids differ. I took my oldest to his first movie at the theater when he was four, and he's now eight. We went to see Madagascar, and he did great, he absolutley loved it. Then when Corpse Bride came out we went to see it, and he was an absolute nightmare! He was bored almost the entire movie and talked nonstop and drove us all crazy. I would say if you think she's ready for it, go ahead, but make sure it's very active and colorful and is something that will hold her attention. My youngest is two and a half, and there are lots of movies I would love to take him to, but I know he would be running up and down the aisles talking nonstop and making everyone crazy. It's not that he has dicipline problems, but he still has a short attention span and can only sit still for so long. If she's very patient and you think she's ready, go for it, but I would totally do the earliest showing in the day just so if she gets rambunctious she won't upset many people. I hope this helps!

It's not *just* would she be able to sit through it, but would she understand the movie, plot line, etc. We waited until ours were 3 1/2. They were old enough to understand the movie, and we could talk about their favorite parts afterwards, and explain the "why did this happen" to them. Even though they might sit through a movie at home, remember at home it is just you. At the theatre, you have to be respectful of other people in the theatre. Even though you are probably taking her to a kid movie, it is hard for a 2 1/2 yr old to be quiet, sit still, not be squirming around, loud, etc, while other kids who are older may be trying to watch. I know it sounds like a great mommy/daughter date, but if you can be patient and wait a little a few more months, you will have a much more enjoyable event than if you do it this young.

Hello, my daughter was a little younger then yours when I took her the first time. I would suggest that you go to a matinee. That way she can discuss the action just like at home without disturbing others.

I would wait until the child is able to sit through a movie at home before going to a theater. The theater we use doesn't offer booster seats and our daughter is/was very petite, especially before age 5 and could hardly keep the seat from folding her up in it. She would have to sit on her knees to press down a little more firmly or sit with me in my lap. Also, the arm rests would fold up between our seats and sometimes we would make that change and I could keep one of my legs on edge of her seat to hold it down. Movie outings are lots of fun ... enjoy!!

I think it totally depends on the child. They need to be able to sit still at home and watch a movie. We took our 2 yr old to the movies a few months ago and it was a fiasco, so it will be a while before we take him again. He happily chomped on popcorn thru the previews, but 5 minutes into the movie he was ready to get down and run around. Hubby and I took turns chasing him around the back. Luckily it wasn't crowded. I am glad it was a $1 movie, not fullprice. Some theatres have booster seats. They aren't very comfortable but they do booster them up so they can see. If you have a dollar theatre try that, during the day, when she is not tired.

I don't think her age is too young to go to the movies. I'm not sure of any theatres that provide booster seats but you could always bring your own or let her sit on your lap. Just enjoy the time you have together. They grow up so fast!

My daughter is about 3 1/2 and we are actually taking her to the movies for the first time today! I will have to post back tonight & let you know how it goes.

We are going to see the new Ice Age movie. She loves animals and has seen pieces of the first 2 Ice Age movies on TV. My plan was to take her after it's already been in the theater for a bit. So hopefully there won't be such a crowd in the theater so there are fewer people for her to disturb if she talks too much :) Plus we are taking her to a matinee showing.

Hey J.,

I think it best to start taking them as early as possible. My little one went as early as infancy. I would just go with her at nap time or close to her falling asleep and enjoy a show by myself or with one of my sisters. Only thing to remember is to leave if your LO acts up. Most theatres will refund you should you have to leave in the middle of the show. Ask ahead about rainchecks and refunds should you have to leave. I only had to leave one of the 10 or so movies I have taken her to.

My daughter was use to the darkness in theaters and so when she was old enough for us to go see something for her we could tell her she was going to the movies. She woud get all excited about the dark theater and not scared. She loves dogs and Hannah Montana, so 1 1/2 we went to see Hotel for Dogs. She did well but fell asleep the last 15 mins. Then at almost 2 we went to see Hannah Montana Movie and she did okay, only because she wanted to dance to the songs. Again she was out for a nap near the end. But we took her not to long ago to see Up, we ust made 2 1/2 this month. I wasn't sure how it would go, but every time the preview was on the tv she went to it and quietly watched. Anyway, she did so well for Up. She even stayed awake the whole time. Now she was nodding off towards the end, but poor thing would force herself to stay awake longer and watch the movie. Not sure what to go see next with her.

Only other thing I can add, is that you know the attention span of your little one best. My LO always did well with long movies and would watch Annie for hours at home. So pick somehting that fits their interest and then good luck on the trek of how they make it through.

Oh and yes they have boosters.

Best Wishes for a wonderful Movie day.
They are so much fun!
-MB

I took my son who is 2 1/2, and it was not fun at all. He watches movies all the time at home, but he also gets to move around whenever he wants at home. He kept running up and down the aisles.

He's a pretty active kid, though, so maybe your daughter will be better.

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