If you are reading this post, then we consider that a part of your heart is yearning to watch a movie along with your baby. So, you have no right whatsoever to make an opinion about mommies like me, who dare and don’t mind taking babies to the theatre. So, take a chill pill, you will not be tagged as a ‘bad mommy’ if you do so.
Disclaimer: This post doesn’t promote TV/Movie viewing among small kids. This is just an attempt to help make movie watching a happy and comfortable experience for both of you.
Before H was born, my work profile involved writing movie reviews. You can read some of them here, here and here. Interesting job, isn’t it? Well, it was. In fact, friends were jealous of my job, which paid me for watching movies. It was fun and I used to look forward to Fridays. And then, H was born. Life was a bliss with H and even professionally, I was back on track after some months, but watching movies never happened again. I never felt ready enough to take her along. How, I’m missing my movie days!
It was when she turned 10 months old that we decided to take a chance with our luck. But unfortunately, had to walk out at 100 minutes mark. We tried again after she turned 1 & bingo! We survived! I think, that one can watch adult movies (not the X-rated, guys, but movies that are not kiddie flicks) with babies till they begin to understand things. Since, we haven’t introduced H to TV yet, so I somewhat knew that she won’t pay much attention to what was happening on the big screen. Voila! I was right! (Mommy instincts, you see!) She surprisingly stared at the huge screen for a couple of minutes and then got busy with her own stuff. (Read: sippy cup, biscuits, toys, my bangles, my nose my hair, blanket etc.). To add to our luck, she dozed off in next twenty minutes and woke up roughly 25 minutes before the film ended.
Now, coming to the title of the post – How to survive a movie with your one year old / toddler or how did we survive…
1. Plan around sleep time: These are multiplex days, it’s not very tough to find a show that’s at least close to (if not coincides) with your little one’s nap time. Chances are high that you would have an uninterrupted movie experience.
2. Choice of film: You need not watch a kiddie flick. But try to avoid movies that are high on sound (action flicks etc.) In case, there’s unexpected high noise, just close your child’s ears. Also, try films with a shorter run-time. Thank fully, even Bollywood movies aren’t three hours long anymore.
3. Avoid 3D films: Though 3D movies are great entertainers but understand that your child would not wear the glasses. Not even for more than 5 minutes at a stretch. And watching a 3D movie without glasses can be really uncomfortable for your child (even if he/she watches it for 5 mins.)
4. Reach late: The idea isn’t to miss the movie but the previews, advertisements and trailers of upcoming movies that they show before the feature film. Lesser time the child spends inside, higher are the chances of you being able to watch the complete the film. So, if you have a 2.30 show, enter the theater at 2.45.
5. Choose the right seat: An aisle seat is always better as it will be easier to stand up and walk around without disturbing others if your baby decides to throw a sudden tantrum. Don’t sit too close to the screen as it can strain your child’s eyes.
6. Be prepared to leave: We had to do that during our first movie outing when H decided to get cranky and cry her guts out at 100 minute mark.
7. Carry lots of soothing articles: Theater is one place that is not an ideal place to make your baby understand a ‘No.’ Keep your parenting gyaan for home and get ready to soothe the baby with anything and everything that he/she demands – pacifier, favourite biscuits, toys, blankets, car keys, spectacles (It can be painful).
8. Engage the baby: H loves to feed me. So, to keep her entertained, I ended up eating 2-3 teething cookies, some chikoo and even drinking water from her sipper. It didn’t end there, I also had to let her explore my mouth and even my nose a couple of times. Keep talking to the baby in between. Keep asking him/her the questions you ask generally. Of course in a whispering tone. After all you don’t want evil glances!
9. Foodie delights: Stuff your bag with your child’s favourite food items / drinks/ formula milk. They can come as handy bribes for your little audience. If you are still breast-feeding, you are lucky. Just tuck your baby inside and give a feed whenever he/she asks for.
10. Carry a blanket: It will come handy when it becomes cold inside the theater. However, I found another use for the blanket during my first movie outing. When H decided that she doesn’t want to sit in my lap any more. I spread the blanket on the theater floor, close to my feet and she happily spent good thirty minutes playing with her toys on the blanket.
You might get angry glances from others, don’t bother till your child is indeed a big distraction. Only, you know what’s right and wrong for your baby. So, if you feel that your child is uncomfortable in the theater, you know what to do. Else, see you at the movies!