Sunday, September 01, 2013

The Early Movie Theater Showing with Children

It was Saturday. My in-laws were in town, and we decided to take the kids (our oldest two) to a movie. Our daughter just turned five, and my son is two-and-a-half. This was her third movie at a theater, and his first.

We went to a Saturday 10 am showing. Buying tickets we were advised that the movie showing was a sensory friendly showing. We were advised this would meant that the lights would be dark, but not all the way, and that the sound wouldn't be as loud. No complaints. We could tell there were a lot of kids.

We were seeing the film Planes. And the audience was packed with kids.

Yet, as my father-in-law described upon leaving he said "The theater was full of animals, without any zoo keepers."

My kids are not always angels, but my daughter sat in her seat the whole time, and my son eventually crawled out of his into my lap where he fell asleep for the last twenty minutes of the film.

Yet, other kids were roaming around the theater without any restrain on the part of there parents. Kids were climbing on seats, walking up to the screen and walking between the aisles. There was lots of talking.

One boy walked down our aisle a half dozen times alone and his parents were definitely not in our aisle.

I was shocked. I don't think the other kids necessarily stole from the experience my own kids were having, they didn't try to jump up and play and they didn't seem to mind that they were held to a different expectation than some of the other kids. I think they're used to it.

We extend our own kids a lot of levity to have fun and play, but I hope that they learn and understand that different environments require different types of decorum. To me, it seems like a movie theater is on the opposite spectrum of behavioral expectations as, say, a park or friends backyard. A movie theater auditorium should line up more with story time at the library, a concert, or church service.

Again, our kids aren't always perfect, but there seemed like very little effort on the part of any parent in any vicinity of our seats to get children controlled and acting appropriate. I left the experience a little shocked and surprised.

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