Short answer: yes… maybe…
When Frozen came out on November 27th, nearly two months ago, I was troubled. I really wanted to see this movie, especially after hearing reviews from friends, but I have a two year old (Rya) and an infant (Tinsley). My wife and I didn’t yet feel comfortable leaving our one month old with a babysitter yet, and didn’t think our two year old would be able to sit through a feature length movie (we don’t have cable at home, so she’s not used to staring at a screen)…
As time passed, we decided to watch a few movies at home to see if my two year old would be able to focus on them, starting with Finding Nemo. I must say, Rya was amazing. She loved the characters, especially Dory, and followed along the entire time, albeit standing and moving around our living room occasionally. We followed it up with Princess and the Frog (thanks for the Christmas gift, dad) and Louis was Rya’s favorite in that one.
In order to prep her, and just because the songs are great, we listened to music from Frozen and watched videos that Disney Animation had released on their YouTube Channel. Rya’s favorite two are Let It Go and In Summer. (click the titles to watch) When we watched videos, we’d share the names of the characters so she’d be familiar with them when it came time to see them on the big screen. All Rya talked about for a few days was Princess Elsa and Princess Anna (she’s always said she and Tinsley are princesses, and dad’s a pirate… I’ve trained her well!)
(images can be found here)
My wife and I went to see Frozen last week for our first time, and when we finished, we both said Rya would really like it. The only objection might have been Marshmallow, the giant snowman that chases after the characters after the throw a snowball at him, but we figured it was a short time, and she’d be okay.
(image can be found here)
The final thing we did was talk to her about what to expect inside the theater. We let her know it would be dark, there would probably be a lot of other people around, and that we had to whisper while we sat.
When it came time to actually head to the theater, Rya was incredibly excited: this would be her first movie on a big big big big screen! We didn’t tell her about the popcorn, and let that be a surprise for her. I got that as mom took her to go potty one last time before heading in to the theater. We were so glad we did, as at least ten kids had to leave at some point during the film (but not ours!). The theater was pretty full (especially considering it’s Frozen’s 8th week in theaters), but we found three seats, and set our daughter in the middle.
So how did she do? Very well! As the Mickey Mouse short started before the movie, she shouted “That’s Mickey Mouse!”, and we reminded her to whisper, and she said ok. Each and every time a song started that we had listened to at home, she’d turn to me or her mom and whisper “I like that” or “I sing that” with a big smile across her face. And did she like Elsa and Anna? Yup. But her favorite character? Sven! She even said to me “Sven is like Reesie” (the more playful of our two dogs). In the last fifteen minutes of the film, she got a little bit antsy, and moved from mom’s lap to dad’s and then stood in the row, but all while watching the movie.
(image can be found here)
So my tips for taking a young child to a movie?
1 Familiarize them with the characters, songs, and story if that may help
2 Build it up as an exciting event
3 Let them know about how to act in a theater
4 Be prepared early (go to the bathroom before, get your popcorn, beverages (water), etc)
5 Every child is different, and every movie is different. You know your child better than anyone else.
When would you take a child to their first movie? And what was your first movie? Please leave a comment below!
A few other perspectives