Taking a two year old to the movies? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 06-26-2005, 03:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My two year old has developed a passion for penguins. I took him to the computer one day to look up all the animals that appear as cartoons in one of his books. He found the penguins very compelling. In particular, he likes to look at the videos we found on the internet (using Google) of parents feeding their babies. I ordered him some children's books with high quality photographs of penguins as well, two of which arrived today to our mutual excitement.

On Wednesday we found out that there is going to be a National Geographic full length documentary on penguins in the movie theaters! It's actually already been released in New York and LA and will be coming out in our area July 1. I want to take him to see it! We've already hit the movie website, printed out coloring book pages of penguins, watched the trailer and the bonus video on that website.

Can a two year old handle a 90 minute movie in a theater? How should I plan to do this? I really want him to see it, I think he'll be so into it, but he is only two. He has a very long attention span for his age. Should I plan to bring snacks? To take him out if he gets fussy? Will he be scared of the dark or overstimulated? I could just wait and buy the DVD.

What is your experience? When did you first take a child to the movies? How did it go?

Divorced mom of one awesome boy born 2-3-2003.
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#2 of 21 Old 06-26-2005, 06:19 AM
 
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We recently took my 2.5 year old ds to see Madagascar. He sat through the whole thing quietly with no problems. Since your little one seems so interested in penguins, I'm sure he'll do fine. Make sure to get (or sneak in) lots of snacks and talk about the importance of staying in your seat and keeping quiet during the film beforehand. I would go into with the idea that it may not work out and you may have to leave early. That way there's no pressure if he doesn't do as well as you hoped.
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#3 of 21 Old 06-26-2005, 08:37 AM
 
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We took dd to see the Polar express last winter and she did great. But tv/ movies and the like are unusual to her and I think she was just fascinated by the experience. That big movie screen is awfully big to a little two year old and very captivating. I bet he has a great (!) time...I wouldn't worry too much. Worst case scenario you take a break and go out of the movie for a few minutes for him to run around.
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#4 of 21 Old 06-26-2005, 08:42 AM
 
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We took our 2.5 year old to see Polar Express too. He loved it -- sat through the whole thing no problem. And definitely plan to bring snacks!
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#5 of 21 Old 06-26-2005, 09:35 AM
 
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I haven't attempted to do this yet with my 2 yo, but I KNOW he doesn't have the attention to sit still for 90 minutes. If you feel your ds will really enjoy it, go and have fun! I would probably try to go to the earliest showing, that way the theater will probably be emptier and they just seem to be more kid-friendly at matinees.

Enjoy!
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#6 of 21 Old 06-26-2005, 10:04 AM
 
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I think if you go, just go with an open mind and follow his cues. If it seems like he can't handle it- just leave. You'll be out a few bucks, but you can chalk it up to experience.
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#7 of 21 Old 06-26-2005, 10:24 AM
 
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Personally, I would go see it alone first. You never know if there is going to be some gory hunting scene or sad orphaned babies, that dc might find upseting. I think my ds would have been overwhelmed at that age but your child is different and you know him best.

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#8 of 21 Old 06-26-2005, 02:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by 4evermom
Personally, I would go see it alone first. You never know if there is going to be some gory hunting scene or sad orphaned babies, that dc might find upseting. I think my ds would have been overwhelmed at that age but your child is different and you know him best.

we already know from the trailer that there will be a scary part in which a leopard seal tries to eat some of the adult penguins.

My ds says "eat penguins!" when we see that part. I always say, "Yes, the leopard seal wants to eat the penguins, but they all got away that time."

There is a sad orphaned penguin aspect to one of the books we got yesterday. Appparently the parenting practices of king penguins are not as noble as those of the Emperor or Yellow-eyed ones. They stuff their chicks with food for a year or so, and then when the chicks are toddlers, they just leave them on their own to transition to being fledglings! Of course, the chicks are the height of kitchen tables--as tall as my two year old!-- and as round as bowling balls, and covered with brown down that looks like fur. There are comical photographs of them overheating in the sun and lying on the ground, panting! Their parents leave them to fast, basically, for five months or so--and they never starve! They are the least likely warm-blooded animal on the planet to starve, these penguin chicks! They run in circles, flapping their wings and molting hideously until they turn into adults and gracefully dive into the water.

Ds seems not the slightest bit upset that the penguin chicks in the book are scared and on their own. I, on the other hand, was quite disturbed! I thought "oh, poor little guys!" until I realized that 1) they are not little at all and 2) they apparently all survive the crazy ordeal to become adults. But ds didn't require any reassurance! Okay, whatever!

Maybe two year olds don't have empathy yet?

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#9 of 21 Old 06-26-2005, 03:20 PM
 
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Totally depends on the individual child and also what they are used to. Both of my children went to adult type restaurants, some movies, etc. from a very young age so they were fine. I have been to the movies with friends who had children older than mine who ended up having to leave while we stayed. Just depends on the child.
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#10 of 21 Old 06-26-2005, 03:34 PM
 
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I don't think that those particular things would have upset my ds, either, at that age. They might upset him at an older one, however. He seemed more sensitive to things after he turned 3. One example being singing fruit on Sesame St. It's definitely a matter of being tuned into your child.

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#11 of 21 Old 06-26-2005, 06:04 PM
 
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I think it really depends on the child. In my own experience, I was able to take infants in slings to the movies, and children 3-4 or older, but nothing in between. I might have felt differently about taking toddlers if movies were less expensive- I just can't see paying $10+ for a movie and then missing half of it!!

None of my kids were able to sit still very long at age 2, but you know your child best. As long as you sit by an aisle and are prepared to walk the lobby with him if he gets restless, it should be fine.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18, and Jack, 12
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#12 of 21 Old 06-26-2005, 08:47 PM
 
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It totally depends on the child in my experience. My Ds went to his first theatre movie at 3 and it went OK, but not great. He was nervous about the dark and the loud sounds. My Dd had no issue from very little, like a year old or so. Id sit by an isle, and be prepared to bail if he decides it's not his thing just yet.

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#13 of 21 Old 06-26-2005, 09:41 PM
 
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I think it depends on the child.

With my dd we felt it was best to wait until she was 4.
One reason was movies in theaters are loud and dd is sensitive about loud noises. We felt it was unfair to ask her to sit still in the dark for so long. Also we felt that images on the big screen might be more overwhelming.

I don't think there is very much gained by seeing a movie in a theater environment for a young child versus seeing it in the comfort of their home on DVD. At home you can pause/stop, skip scenes, have lights on, talk all you want during it, move around, etc.

Kim ~mom to one awesome dd (12)

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#14 of 21 Old 06-27-2005, 12:00 AM
 
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i just wanted to echo the "it depends on the kid" theme. i think my daughter was 2 when finding nemo came out. we sat at the edge of an aisle so we could leave easily, and bought the tickets in advance so i knew we would get a good time based on her nap schedule (not TOOOO tired, but not TOOOOOO energetic either).
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#15 of 21 Old 06-27-2005, 01:38 AM
 
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if money is not an issue i would take him and be prepared to leave if u need to. as u have seen the children are all over the board where attention span is concerned. i havent taken my dd to the movie theatre because i am not sure how she would react to the loud noises and darkness. she has had the attention span since she was little and we watch 1 1/2 movies pretty often since she was about 20 months old. we have watched a lot of documentaries on subjects she enjoys too.

the plus point is it is a subject that he is interested in. i found with my dd that initially she didnt mind watching adult documentaries but as she grew older she kinda got bored with them. presentation made a difference.

but also keep in mind he might not be empathetic now but the docum. might make him - u never know so he might burst into tears and might be upset later. of course that definitely depends on his personality. we actually have stopped watching docum because the older my dd gets, the more she is aware of whats going on - so she gets even more upset about things that didnt upset her before.

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#16 of 21 Old 06-27-2005, 05:18 PM
 
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hmm, yeah it does depend on the child. I know my DS's (2 next month) attention span isn't good for a whopping 2 minutes.
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#17 of 21 Old 06-28-2005, 03:31 AM
 
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We just took my 22 month old DD to see Madagascar, and she did great.

We took her right after dinner. She had a full tummy, and she was awake, but relaxed.

We had a few people with us, so if she started getting squirmy, she'd go sit in somebody else's lap, and that helped calm her down.

We kept her near the edge of the aisle so that we could get up and go if necessary.

We waited until the movie had been out for a couple of weeks so that it wasn't so crowded.
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#18 of 21 Old 06-28-2005, 09:36 AM
 
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captain optimism - my only advice (and it's an obvious piece of advice ) is to watch DC's cues and see how he responds to the movie. Our DS is 2 (25 months) and has a similar passion for tigers! (Likely because I'm fascinated by Siberian tigers and have been doing virtually the same thing as you have been with those cute penguins!) I thought it would be great if I rented a National Geographic tiger video from the library and watched it together. A real treat since we rarely watch videos. DS actually was quite frightened by the least expected things - a baby cub falling down. I guess tigers are more ferocious than penguins but I guess I'm thinking just be flexible and be prepared to leave the movie before it ends.
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#19 of 21 Old 06-28-2005, 09:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuesday
captain optimism - my only advice (and it's an obvious piece of advice ) is to watch DC's cues and see how he responds to the movie. Our DS is 2 (25 months) and has a similar passion for tigers! (Likely because I'm fascinated by Siberian tigers and have been doing virtually the same thing as you have been with those cute penguins!) I thought it would be great if I rented a National Geographic tiger video from the library and watched it together. A real treat since we rarely watch videos. DS actually was quite frightened by the least expected things - a baby cub falling down. I guess tigers are more ferocious than penguins but I guess I'm thinking just be flexible and be prepared to leave the movie before it ends.
Oooh, tigers!

I really have learned a lot from becoming a mom, haven't you?

Divorced mom of one awesome boy born 2-3-2003.
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#20 of 21 Old 06-28-2005, 12:39 PM
 
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A lot of movie theaters now have "kiddie" shows--usually once a week, at a time when they're not showing other movies (like 10:30 am on a Wednesday). The idea is that you can bring young kids, and the audience will be made up of other caregivers with young kids, so you don't need to be so anxious about talking, squirming, etc. You might want to see if any of the theaters near you do this.
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#21 of 21 Old 06-30-2005, 07:15 PM
 
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DD is 28 months and I took her to an IMAX movie yesterday (dolphins). It was 45 minutes and she did really well. Probably the last 5 - 10 minutes she was squirmy, but they were showing less dolphin and more people talking. I don't think she could sit through 90 minutes right now, but every child is different. I think snacks would help her for a longer movie, but we couldn't have anything at the theater yesterday. We watched a documentary on birds a few weeks ago and dd loved that too. The in-laws kept trying to cover her eyes when a disturbing part came on, but nothing bothered her. Of course today she cried because she stepped on an ant, so that might be different now. My attitude with the movie yesterday was we'll go, sit on the aisle and try it out. If it doesn't work we'll leave. I guess it helped that we had free passes, but it turned out great!

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