First sleepovers, riding a bike, reading a chapter book — all of these events come at different times in a child’s life based on emotional maturity and behavior. Another key event for many kids is their first movie. While the pandemic has made going to physical theaters a rare occurrence, there’s still a thrill from your kid being able to sit through an entire movie in one go — even if they sat on your couch the whole time. So whether your family opts for a drive-in movie, full theater experience, or a Netflix movie night in, here are some tips for picking the right movie for your kid:
Know your child’s patience and attention span.
This is a key first step in determining if your child is ready for the movies. You want to avoid going in and out of a theater for bathroom runs, popcorn refills, or hearing “I’m bored!” Take note of what holds your kid’s attention when you have the TV on, and look for movies that are similar. Also keep an eye on how long your child can handle a show before they want to change the channel. If they can watch an hour or so of children’s programming, it’s a positive sign they might be ready for their first theatrical experience.
Do research about the movie first.
Yes, this applies even if it’s a Disney or Pixar film! Pixar movies like Inside Out shocked audiences by exploring depression and anxiety through animated storytelling, and The Good Dinosaur left parents frustrated and stuck with children sobbing through the first half of the movie. Always check out what other parents have said about the movie before showing it to your little one. If it does dive into deeper subject matter, use discretion or be prepared to explain potentially tough themes to your child.
Be okay with having an exit strategy.
You might think your child is ready to take on their first 90 minutes of movie fun, but even the best behaved children struggle with sitting still for that long. It’s important for parents to be patient and understanding. Encourage your child to sit through the whole film by framing the event as a big treat or reward for good behavior. However, if a full runtime isn’t in the cards, plan an exit strategy in case your kid just can’t last through the entire movie.
At Lake Forrest Prep, a private school in Orlando, we know life outside the classroom can be just as insightful as growth made in a classroom. For more tips on how to create a learning environment at home, check out our blog.