Taking A Toddler To The Cinema For The First Time.

Chose your time wisely:

There were two time options for the showing that we were after. 1030 and 1230 – realistically the 1230 would have been easier as it would have meant we could get up and get ready at leisure before heading to the cinema but Rosie still needs a lunchtime nap most days and that would fall right bang in the middle of the film. We chose to go to one of the dedicated children’s screenings but more popular films have multiple showings throughout the day.

Pack Snacks:

Despite what we grew up believing, you are allowed to take (cold) snacks and drinks in to the cinema. With the price of tickets already high, adding on drinks, popcorn, sweets and nachos turns a rainy morning activity in to something akin to a full day out. We nipped to the local shop and picked up some drinks, sweets and crisps to go alongside the huge bucket of popcorn Rosie and I shared.


Have the conversation about what to expect.

Rosie didn’t have any preexsisting ideas about the cinema but already loves watching television (who doesnt!) so it was easy enough to explain it to her that the cinema is like a really big television that lots of boys and girls can watch. We explained that we have to sit in our seats, that it might be a bit louder than at home and that it will probably be dark to begin with. We told her that she has to only speak very quietly because other children want to listen to the programme but she was transfixed and didn’t speak at all.

Get there just before the advertised time.

Going against everything I normally say, I would advise getting to the cinema with little time to spare. Leave five minutes to collect your tickets and pick up some popcorn but apart from that leave little time for boredom to kick in.  We did end up having a ten minute wait for the film to start because somehow it hadn’t been turned on, but i dread to think what Rosie would have been like with another half an hour on top of that.


Look for cues:

You know your little one best, have their comforter on hand in case they become overwhelmed – for us we knew that Rosie would probably want her dummy at some point (plus it made her have regular breaks from eating all of my popcorn) and she picked which cuddly toy she would take with us. Other children might want their blanket, bottle or muslin cloth, regardless of their age. The cinema is a huge sensory overload with loud noises, darkness and smells that they aren’t used to so expect meltdowns and have everything you could need to hand.

Chalk it up to experience:

Rosie has seen every episode of Bing approximately 500 times so if we had to abbandon  ship half way through it really wouldn’t be a huge loss. I would much rather leave before she completely lost it rather than try and presevere for the sake of it.

Have you been to the cinema with your toddler? Any films that you have seen recently that you would recommend?

First-Time Mama to Rosie - MUA / Retail Manager - Fuelled by Coffee and Concealer - Dairy Free - Weaning Toddler - Extended Breastfeeding.

One Comment

  • Timmy

    Taking her on her first trip is so, so cute!

    Love all of this advice and talking her through it beforehand – I hope she loved it and that the cinema becomes a nice family outing for you in the future.

    I like that cinemas now have to be a lot more open about what you can take it, gone are the days of sneaking things in as if they are contraband. Big fan of the home snacks and reducing the price of the outing, makes it far more accessible for people and that is important.

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