Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Movie Going with Children- What Age is Best to Start this Adventure?

Portland Working Moms Examiner

This Friday, March 26, How to Train Your Dragon releases in theaters. When my son, who will be 2 next month, saw this trailer his ears and eyes perked up. He’s into dragons and dinosaurs at the moment, and while we have been to a feature movie in the theater, I’m not sure this one will make the cut for us.

His very first movie experience was at an IMAX theater at our local science museum, OMSI. I wasn’t sure how he would react- would he sit still during the movie? Would be disrupt other movie goers? Would the screen be too large and make him sick? Surprisingly, he did great. He loved the movie, Walking With Dinosaurs, and he enjoyed sitting in my lap and drinking his water while munching on popcorn. The kid is a regular moviegoer!

Movies designed for little ones as young as 4 should be able to enjoy and follow a plot, as well as have the patience to sit in place for more than an hour. But if you’re still in the toddler years, a full-length movie could be a stretch.

Of course, every child is different. If your child can sit through a Disney movie at home, which obviously has done the research to know how long a child’s attention span will last; they most likely will be able to make the move to the big screen. If you have a busy body for a child, you might want to hold off. The great thing about going to a childrens movie is, you’re with other kids! So noises, talking, gasping, laughing, etc. is expected and other parents have the patience to endure this type of behavior.

Be sure to check out the movie rating- in this case, How to Train Your Dragon is rated PG. Also check out the reviews for the movie and get feedback from other parents. Movies are magical and wonderful to a young mind, and something fun to do when the weather turns on you- which can happen quite a bit in Portland! Movies also open up discussions about life, which can make for a wonderful bonding experience. Going out to eat after the movie and encouraging discussion is also a great way to connect with your child, especially as they get older and have more questions about the world around them and right and wrong.

Happy Movie Going!

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