Young children in theaters


Is it all right to bring your baby to a movie theater? The subject is a sore spot for many movie patrons. For many people, the worst possible thing for them would be to listen to an infant cry during a three-hour movie. That experience is made ten times worse is if that movie is something that an individual really wanted to go see, but couldn’t hear due to the shrieks of the over-tired youngster third row from the top.

There is a flip side to this. As a mother, I can sympathize with parents who take their children to the movies. Child care is enormously expensive in this country, and more often than not a family with more than two children will often have a stay-at-home parent to offset the childcare costs. A lot of parents may not have the luxury of extended family nearby to enjoy a date night out, nor have a reputable babysitter on hand in their area.

Along those same lines however, I strongly feel that it is highly inappropriate to take small children to anything over a PG-rated film. Babies mostly will stay in their infant carriers during a film, but toddlers will not sit still. Anything over that is not acceptable for the age range of any small child. And, as most parents know, small children ask questions, usually at the top of their voice, which seems to become more awkward the louder they become.

Toddlers through ages six or seven have lots of mimicry in their play, and what can be dismissed as fake to an adult can be very real to a small child. Whenever a child makes a fuss, I believe that it is up to the parent to take their child out of the theater out of respect to the other patrons. They have paid their money and want to see the movie as well, and common courtesy from parents can go a long way into people accepting children in theaters.

But what if instead of going out, the young family stays at home? This would be more acceptable for couples on dates, teens and other consumers, but it would not be at all healthy for the adults in the relationship. Ideally, most parents will not allow their small child to watch more than a certain amount of television per day, and most mothers in my experience have limited TV and movie time to “Cailou,” “Daniel Tiger” and Disney’s Frozen. In only very rare circumstances should a mother use mass media as a babysitter; then it is usually an iPad or a playpen, depending on the age of the child. Along with whatever may be on TV at the time.

I have heard people commenting about how “they should not allow babies in movie theaters.” Without understanding why the child might be there, you cannot glimpse what a family’s situation may be when they bring small children to the movies. The entire scope involves patience and courtesy from all parties involved.


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