The smell of popcorn is wafting through the air. Maybe even a little vinegar is mixing in there too if you're a pickle person. Or pregnant. You sink down into the seat as the lights dim and a set of previews chosen specifically for you begin to roll. Isn't it the best?

Going to the movies was a huge part of my childhood. We went as a family regularly, always leaving the theater to have a long conversation about our favorite characters and parts, our overall review and of course to discuss what we might like to see next. Fast forward to when I met Jordan. Our very first date-type of outing was to the movies. In the early days I really made Jordan work for it, being the hard-to-make-conversation-with person that I am. At some point I mentioned that I was wanting to see a particular movie, and being the sly dog that he is, he asked me to go see it with him. A few months later, once Jordan had bagged me, the truth came out. He hates going to the movies. Even if it's a movie "he wouldn't mind" seeing (the highest rating any movie ever gets from him), he still never actually wants to go. Like, never. Bait and switch... 

Now, if you watched my Haul Video, then you know we're slightly Peanuts and Snoopy obsessed in our house. So you can imagine my excitement when I found out that there was going to be a Peanuts movie! Finally, a movie he would want to see! What better chance would I ever have to get him to take Adelaide to the movies?! So after a few subtle reminders and maybe just a teeny bit of guilting, I got him to agree and we went last Tuesday. Of course my excitement outweighed his once again. Overall, I would say it was a successful trip. Here a few tips I came up with based on our experience:

1. Know your toddler. This is probably the most important thing. If your child can't sit through a 30 minute cartoon, then how on Earth would you expect them to sit through a two hour movie?! Remember, previews are going to tack on an extra 20-25 minutes to the running time.

Speaking of previews....

2. Skip em. If you're going with someone else, send them on into the theater while you stay out in the hall letting your toddler burn off some energy before going in. Have the person in the theater shoot you a text when the movie is actually starting. If you're alone with your toddler, just peek in every few minutes. Remember, you have a good 20 minutes after the start time before the movie will start. Don't waste valuable snacks or calm, interested and engaged time on the previews.

Speaking of snacks...

3. Be prepared with lots of options. We got a big popcorn to share and gave Adelaide her own little cup full to hold. It was great until she had put away her third cup full. You know how you can get that yucky feeling if you eat a boatload of popcorn and nothing else? Well, you want to avoid that. So bring some other snack options. We brought a fruit puree pouch and a bowl of grapes.

4. Avoid opening weekend. The last thing you need to worry about is whether any of your toddler's little issues may be bothering someone else. The more full the theater is, the higher your chances are of spoiling the movie for others, which just is not cool. Opening weekend, really weekends in general are going to be far busier than weekday shows. Steer clear if at all possible.

5. Try an afternoon, weekday matinee. We went to a 4 o'clock show on a Tuesday and were one of only 3 groups there, so we were able to spread out really well. I didn't have to worry about Adelaide's running commentary or warnings to the characters to "Be careful!" bothering anyone else. From my own observations, it seems like most people with preschool aged children and daycares out on field trips choose the earlier matinees, so those tend to be pretty busy. And people with school aged children probably won't be able to make the 3-4 o'clock shows. 

Speaking of times....

6. Consider going after nap time. You don't need to add crabby and tired to the list of potential issues.

7. Sit in the back. If you need to step out for a quick breather (which we did, twice) or a trip to the restroom, you won't have far to go and you won't have to worry about bothering anyone else with your ins and outs.

Like I said, our trip went pretty well, but it was very clear that that particular outing was all about me and what I wanted to do. I don't think we'll go again until Adelaide is expressing an interest herself. And I can't wait until that day! I'm dying for a willing movie-going partner ;)

Any more tips to add? How old were your kids when you started taking them to the movies successfully?


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