The Cinema, flicks, movie, pictures...what ever you call it, I love going, seriously I once had enough points on my Odeon card to get 6 people in for free! Apart from the actual movie I love the way the place smells, the selection of snacks and delicious nibbles...obviously its all calorie free at the cinema and therefore perfectly acceptable to have Peanut Butter Ice Cream and Popcorn for dinner. Me and one of my bestie's M actually call it "Cinema Tea", it's when the minute Daddy has come home, we belt out the door to the flicks and instead of going for a proper meal with some major food groups in we gorge on the smorgasbord at the cinema instead! So as soon as I had the kids I couldn't wait to take them too, it also makes going to see all the kid films I want to see less awkward when you have an actual child with you.
What is the right age for a first
Archies first cinema trip.
When Archie had just turned 2 I posted this very question on Facebook on a rainy Saturday when Daddy pig was then playing Rugby away all day. I didn't realise, I had it made with just one child to entertain until 6pm back then so was therefore totally climbing the walls. The response was a mixture between "Leave it until he is at least 3" to "Give it a go". I checked the times, most cinemas have a Saturday and Sunday Movie club for kids which is about 11am and they show older releases for £2.50 and an adult comes free. So If it was a disaster it would only cost £2.50. Off we went and I remember we saw Rio, apart from the fact we both had never seen it, it was full of animals and colours which as well as sweets and tantrums is basically all a 2yr old is interested in so it was a huge success. Apart from the last 20mins where he did get a bit restless but I just cuddled him and he was happy. Now Archie asks to go all the time and we have a little cinema club where we leave Daddy at home every few months and go see the latest kids blockbuster. There is only one problem here though = Oscar. Now he is the exact age that I first took Archie and I feel like we should kind of start to invite him.
Oscars first cinema trip.
So recently the guilts got to me, its the try to replicate first born's childhood guilts so if they turn into a serial killer you cant say it was your fault...you have to have more than one child to get it. Anyway Archie asked to see 'How to Train your Dragon 2' and on a rainy day Daddy wasn't working we thought it would be a perfect opportunity for a family cinema trip. It went really well for.... all of 5 minutes! I should have been warned by the fact that they are so different, I often say Archie is Prince William, more sensible and academic where as Oscar is Prince Harry all party, a true lovable rogue. Archie never moved or took his eyes off the screen but after Oscar demolished his kids snack box he was fidget central. He kept jumping off his seat, loudly saying "MAMMY what they doooing?", playing musical chairs between all 3 of our laps,and demanding "Moooore sweeeets". It came to a crescendo though when just before I could place him back into his seat for the 100th time, he leant over to the bald man in front and licked the back of his head!!! Naturally the guy nearly jumped out of his skin and was not amused, after profusely apologising I quickly grabbed my bag and Oscar in one, then legged it outside. After a stint on the naughty spot, a little wander round the lobby to kill some more time where Oscar touched pretty much everything and a random lady gave him a jelly snake...I was willing to run the risk it might be poisonous at this point. We decided to go back in to sit with Daddy and Archie. Luckily there was only 30mins left but after Oscar told everyone he had a "SNAKE", proceeded to make himself so sticky there was an actual ripping sound when I passed him to Daddy and then started the whole "Moooore Sweets" again, It felt more like 3 hours. Needless to say "Cinema Club" will continue without Oscar until he is at least 5.
Perfectly acceptable lunch right?
- Do a test: If they cant sit and watch a full episode of Pepper Pig...they ain't ready - lesson learnt with Oscar.
- Take Supplies: On both the boys first trips they had a dummy and a teddy for nap times so I bought them as emergency peace makers. If everything goes mad, leaving is the obvious option but if you have an older child very much enjoying the film and you have paid full price, trying to stick it out/calm things down would be better. I also took a few little "quiet" toys to distract.
- Take Baby Wipes: This needed its own point, no matter how old the child there is no limit to how many you will need, I think cleaning up after Glastonbury might have been easier than the 'Oscar aftermath'.
- Take extra snacks: We usually buy the kids cinema box which are around £3 and you get a Drink + Popcorn + Snack. I think its good value considering most things are pretty £££ but I have to say my boys eat them in a matter of minutes so maybe take a few extras, like a sandwich, packet of crisps, raisins etc. Just bare in mind you have to open it in the dark and I wouldn't recommend anything messy. I would also avoid another drink until after the film because it could make a mid film toilet break = hell
Dry Snack Ideas.
Ham wrap or cucumber slices...yeah right?
- Take a Booster Seat: This isn't essential but for smaller kids it really helps. We have two cinemas we go to but one is much older and the seats are more like red velvet venus fly traps ready to swallow anyone under 7st, so these are great and make them able to see the movie much easier.
Ignore the scruff...its from Daddy's car!
- Don't go too early: I asked at the desk and apparently most films don't start until 15-20 mins AFTER the start time. I literally wouldn't get there until at least the start time, its just extra time to get fidgety and to eat all their snacks before the film has even begun.
- Toilet Break: Everyone should have a toilet break or nappy change as the case may be just before you buy any delicious goodies and go into the movie...trust me there is no where to balance a huge thing of popcorn and a cup of ice cream while you and a toddler have a wee #ew It is also hell to pick up all your things, in the pitch black and escort a child or 3 to the toilet. For some reason the stairs are like descending a mountain as well?!
- Don't be embarrassed: This is a child's movie therefor it is full of fidgety, nattering, sticky creatures just like yours and parents also praying theirs will just behave too. Now if your child licks the head of a stranger it might be nice to buy them a slushy or something but apart from that its fine. The lights are little higher than a normal movie and nobody seems to flinch even when for example during 'Maleficent' and the Prince kiss's her Archie shouted "THAT is Grosssss!" Everyone just laughs along.