This weekend I went to the theatre to see Disney’s The Lion King. It is definitely a performance that can be enjoyed by adults and children alike. However, in the midst of the songs and pageantry, there were several crying children, a few tantrums thrown, and lots of moving around. Unfortunately, it was distracting. Here are a few pointers for parents to consider when deciding on taking children to shows/movies/performances.
- Age/Developmental level: children should be old enough to appreciate the performance, and to behave appropriately in the setting. For example, if a show is advertised to be 3 hours in length, young children are not likely to endure this.
- Set expectations: before leaving the house, parents should sit with their child to explain where they’ll be going, what to expect once they’re there (including if a snack may be bought at the concession stand, etc.), and how they should behave (chairs are for sitting, etc.)
- Once there, praise the child for acting appropriately. You may even consider rewarding the child’s behavior by having a small treat after the show.
- If the child is disruptive, or becomes fidgety, remove the child from the arena. Once outside, they should be calmed and reminded of the expectations set at home. If they are inconsolable, it may be time to leave.
- Be wary of the concession stand: My fiance and I cringed as the father of two already amped-up boys handed them huge chocolate covered popsicles and large drinks. Remember that caffeine (found in many carbonated drinks, as well as in chocolate) is likely to increase hyperactivity.
Here are some more resources:
Children’s Book: How Does The Show Go On: An Introduction to the Theater