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 Survival Tips For Taking Your Child To The Theater....

Tips For Taking Kids To The Theatre Why Participate In Theatre Find a Children's Theatre Plays for Children
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Introducing your child to the theater at a young age is a wonderful experience that will create memories of a lifetime.  It will hopefully teach them to love the arts and set a tradition that they will carry on forever.  As a parent however, it is important to select the right play, at the right time, and to set some rules prior to the excursion.  Below you will find some tips to help make going to the theatre with your children a terrific experience.
  • To introduce you child to the theatre you should start with a short, around an hour, production in a children's theater.  Try and get an aisle seat so that you will not disturb others if you need to leave for any reason.
  • Once you move on to bigger and better productions always check on the show's running time before you buy tickets.   Choose according to your child's attention span.  If the show is long then make sure there is an intermission.  
  • Pick a show time that will work well for the youngest child.  Avoid nap time or evening productions that will go past bed time.
  • Matinee performances are usually a great option for families with very young children and ticket prices may be reduced for these performances.
  • Make sure you check to confirm that play is family-friendly  before you go.  Research the play and read reviews and remember that the name of a play is not always an indication of the content. Keep in mind that age appropriate material is the key to a successful event. Ensure that it will not scare younger children but will be entertaining for older children.

  • Familiarity is a good for young children.  Explain to them what they will be seeing.  Be sure to let them know that it is a live theater with actors on the stage.  If possible read them a book about the play, watch the movie on TV or rent the DVD.  This will allow the kids to feel comfortable with the story and then relax and enjoy the performance instead of asking you a lot of questions during the production.  This is not true for teens so consider a fresh alternative if you are taking your 15 year old.

  • Plays with audience interaction usually help to keep the little ones entertained and attentive.

  • Instruct the child as to how they will be expected to behave in the theater. Let them know that they should not talk and if they do they must use their "Indoor Voice", that means a low whisper, at all times.   Let them know that they must sit still and can never kick the sit in front of them. Explain toyour teenshow it is different than going to the movies and let them know that cells phones must be turned off and that texting is inappropriate.
  • Have the kids dress up to give the experience a special feeling.  This is a good opportunity for kids to practice manners and behavior in a formal setting.
  • Make sure your young child is well rested and has eaten prior to the performance. Bring a snack for your child, but make sure it is a "quiet" snack. A child or adult opening a candy wrapper during a performance can be surprisingly loud. You do not want to get into the situation where at intermission they need a snack and have to use the bathroom at the same time.  This could cause a meltdown.
  • If you have an assigned seat then consider keeping them active doing something else and bring them in to the theatre about 20 minutes before the show begins. Make sure you take them to the restroom before the show starts.  Bring something "quiet" to amuse your child during the waiting period before the show begins. During this waiting period reiterate that they will not be able to get up or talk during the performance unless it is an emergency.
  • If a child needs to be consoled for any reason, leave the theater.  Do not allow an upset child to remain in the theater to disturb others.  Constantly be aware of your child's behavior.  Do not get absorbed in the play and forget your responsibilities.
  • Add some excitement to the event and see if the theatre offers children a backstage tour.
  • Check with the theatre to see if they offer booster seats for very young children so that they will be able to see better.
  • Take a walk at intermission to allow them to have a bit of a break and a change of scenery.