Can I Take My Baby to the Movies?

Happy baby boy in stroller
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Question: Can I take my baby to the movies?

Answer: It's less a question of whether you "can" take a baby or young child to the movies and more a question of whether you "should." And the answer to that depends totally on you, your child, your local theater, and the movie you plan to see.

One of the biggest arguments in favor of taking a child to the movies with you is that you should be able to enjoy some mommy time.

The movies can be a great way to relieve stress and enjoy yourself, and if circumstances don't allow you to hire a babysitter, you might consider bringing a young child. That could work out well, but you should take into consideration some other factors.

  1. Movies Are Loud

    In fact, movies are very loud and that might be one of the strongest reasons to not bring a young child. The decibel levels at theaters vary greatly, but the Center for Hearing and Communication warns that theaters often have the volume turned up well beyond 90 decibels. And that's too loud for anyone, but it's especially dangerous for young children whose ears are still developing. Anything above 85 decibels (roughly the volume of city traffic) can damage your own hearing. If you hear ringing in your ears after going to a show, things were probably too loud. Even if you don't plan to bring a small child to the theater, it's worthwhile to talk to the manager of your local cinema to find out how you can get them to ensure the volume is at a safe level. If you're thinking of bringing a baby or toddler, you should consider the volume a deal breaker. If the sound is too loud, it's probably a much better decision to wait and see the movie at home.

  1. Movies Are Expensive

    Don't assume your theater will let your child in for free. In some places, you'll have to fork over the full price of a ticket...and of course, your child is going to want to some treats. When all is said and done, it might not be too much more money to hire a babysitter.

  2. Remember, Toddlers Are Watching

    Even if you get her in free and ensure the volume is okay, you may not want a toddler or 2-year-old to actually watch the movie. Back in the infant days, it seemed not to matter what was on the screen in front of your baby. But by 12 months, your child is paying attention to those images. Scary scenes may frighten a young child; even if he doesn't understand the content, the music, and ambiance of the movie can convey the creepy. In that case, you may need to be aware of the possibility of night terrors.

    Young children also pick up some bad habit from watching movies. If your little darling watches two hours of people kicking and punching each other, chances are he is going to imitate some of that behavior later on.

    If you want to go to the theater but don't mind seeing a movie for your child, then you may be saddened to realize that "G" rated movies for toddlers are few and far between. Another option, though, is to check your local theaters to see if any of them sponsor "kid-friendly" movie nights. In many cities, there are theaters that do screenings of G-rated previous releases on a regular basis. One example is the Big Movies for Little Kids program in New York City.

  1. Little Kids Don't Sit Still So Well

    You know your child better than anyone, so only you can really tell what she's capable of, but most children at this stage of development will not sit still in a small dark theater for the full length of a movie. In that case, you might only want to try this in cases where you have a second adult whom you can alternate with as you walk baby up the aisle or take frequent potty breaks.

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