The weekend is just a few days away and you want to watch a movie with your family. You go online and check out a list of the latest movie releases. With so many movies showing in cinemas or coming to cinemas soon, you’re wondering which one your family should watch together.
Before you had kids, you had a routine for picking a movie to watch. Typically, you chose a film because you liked the director, or the actors, or the author of the book from which the movie was adapted. Perhaps your college buds wanted to go to this movie instead of that one, and you came along. Things were simpler back then.
With kids, it gets more complicated. For one, you have to make sure that the movie you’re watching is family-friendly and not filled with vulgar language and actions. Similar to going on family trips, when you go to see a movie, you may also need to plan ahead and bring some additional items for your kids.
Make your first family trip to a cinema in Dubai more fun and memorable by following these simple tips.
1. Consider your kid’s age.
At what age can kids be brought to the local cinema? The answer largely depends on your kid’s personality.
A lot of parents start bringing their kids to the cinema once they reach the age of three or four years, while others wait until they are way older. There is no right or wrong answer here. However, one factor to keep in mind is their reaction to extreme stimuli.
There are lots of things happening during a movie showing. People are constantly moving. Once the movie starts, there will be flashes of light from the screen and a barrage of noise reverberating throughout the theater.
Before you bring your kids to the cinema, you need to know how they react to noises, being in the dark, and being told to stay in their seat for a prolonged period of time. Perhaps you can try organizing a simple movie day at home first and observe their behavior. If the experience is largely positive, then you can try bringing them to an actual cinema.
2. Pick a family-friendly movie.
Parents often choose cartoons or animated movies when they come to the cinema with their children, thinking it’s the safest option. Most are, but not all. So make sure to read and check reviews from several sources to ensure that the movie you are planning to watch, animated or not, is safe and ideal for kids.
There are other family-friendly movies that are not necessarily animated. Much like cartoons, they tend to be shorter than typical box-office hits. These types of movies are also slower in pace, allowing your kids to enjoy the movie as well.
If you are watching a movie with slightly older children or teenagers, you can ask them for their insights. By asking children to share their opinions, you can gain an idea of what they’re interested in. Plus, it opens opportunities to discuss the movie with your family afterward.
3. Choose the right time to watch.
If you’re taking your kids to see a movie, choosing to go in the morning is a good idea. The children will be more alert and eager to see the movie through because they aren’t tired yet from other activities like studying or playing.
When watching the movies with an older child or a teen, you will need to start educating them on etiquette. This includes putting their devices on silent or vibrate mode, and avoiding standing up or moving around for no reason and blocking the view of the people seated behind them.
4. Plan for eating and taking bathroom breaks.
Make sure the family has eaten and gone to the bathroom before the movie starts. This will help ensure that the kids won’t get fussy or restless due to hunger inside the theater.
Of course, everyone will still want to get popcorn, sodas and other snacks for the movie, so teach the children beforehand how to carefully handle their food and drinks to prevent spills. Have some Kleenex, baby wipes and a change of clothes for the kids ready in your bag in case of an accident. And let the kids know that it’s OK to ask to be accompanied to the bathroom in the middle of the movie if they need to go.
5. Be prepared to address signs of distress.
It’s understandable if kids start showing some signs of discomfort if it’s their first time at the cinema. With the strange new environment and all the stimuli, your child may need to take a break for a few minutes.
Try going out to the lobby with your child if your kid starts crying, screaming, or showing distress. Ask him what made him feel uncomfortable and how he is feeling, and say it’s OK to stay outside the cinema until he feels calmer.
You need to anticipate that your child may not want to go back inside the cinema. Don’t despair. This is only your kid’s first time. There will be other opportunities for you and your child to watch and enjoy a movie together when he is better able to handle the experience.
6. Talk to your kids.
Finally, if the family was able to sit through the whole movie, aim to engage the children in conversation afterward. Find out what your kids think about the movie. It could be during the drive home while having a meal, or the day after going to the theater.
A casual conversation about the movie can give you insights on what your kids think. Perhaps they may find parts of the events in the movie relatable and could help them open up about what’s happening in their own lives. You could also use aspects of the story to explain concepts or explore topics that they are curious about.
Watching a movie is a wholesome and enjoyable experience for the whole family. By following these tips, you can help your young children become more accustomed to the unique cinema environment so they can experience the magic of movies for themselves.