How to Survive Taking Your Kids to the Movies.

We’d not tempted fate up to this point.

We’d sent the big boys with Mimi, or taken them separately, or pushed them off on friends.

But, somehow, we’d avoided, at all cost, the taking of The Two Year Old to the theater.

He’s just not cut out for that. 

He’s a machine.  Designed for battle.  Made tough.

He’s not into “the arts” (a term I’m using loosely to include Shrek Forever After*).

He’s more of a gears and guns type dude.

A man’s man.

A ladies man.

A man with a mission (which I’m nearly convinced is to drive me batty).

Point is my fear of the unknown prevented me from taking #3 aka The Ruffian to the movies.

Until now.

#2 wanted to take his girlfriend “on a date” and since I had to chaperone said date #3 had to go too (worst first date ever: mom, baby brother, girlfriend’s mom, and girlfriend’s sister, but somehow they still held hands for most of the show!).

So make a note friends.  I survived taking my short-attention-span-toddler to the movies and you can too!

Dumb Mom’s Guide to Taking a wild, off the chain Toddler to a Feature Film (on opening day no less!)

*SPOLIER ALERT (it’s a predictable film, though so you’ll figure it out anyway)*

1.  Use restraints.  As in handcuffs, bits of twine, whatever you can find to ensure that your toddler stays securely fastened to his seat (or your lap, or the sticky-dirty floor directly in front of his seat, or anywhere other than standing on the back of the seat in front of the lady two seats down from you).

2.  Use drugs.  Benadryl works nicely.  Alternatively (for those of you categorically opposed to drugging your children), you could schedule the movie for right in the middle of naptime with hope that exhaustion takes over and puts your little one outta commission at least until the movie’s climax music frightens him awake.  But, Benadryl is probably your best bet, because without it you can expect an exhaustion-sugar-excitement induced meltdown to proceed the nap and a movie theater is no place for that.

3.  Use bribery.  As always this was my go to strategy.  Plenty of popcorn, candy, and his very first taste of soda.  It actually worked because he stayed in his designated area for most of the film and only hit the I’ve-had-too-much-sugar-and-somehow-missed-my-nap wall during the last 15 minutes.  At which point all hell broke loose and he proceeded to lose his mind to some pretty exciting Shrek-gets-his-life-back themed music.  Very dramatic!

4.  Use strategery.  As in, strategic, expert pre-planning to ensure that you have the optimal movie going conditions.  Good seats; on the end for easy exit in case of an emergency (emergency being a nice way of saying the moment you know your kid has jumped the shark by kicking over your soda, stepping in your popcorn bucket, and banging his head on the back of the occupied seat in front of him as he launches into a full blown GIMME-MO-CANDIES fit).  Early arrival; but not too early as to get him antsy before the thing even starts.  Early showing; the one all the “normal” people avoid.  Week day showing; because people who can’t tolerate loud-talking-aisle-exploring little people are generally at work, not sitting in the first showing of Shrek Forever After on a Friday morning.  Good company; take kids who actually know how to behave and possibly their movie going expertise will rub off on your little renegade.

5.  Use the power of preparation.  We hosted a McDonald’s Shrek Forever After HouseParty** the day before the movie was released.  The kids got to enjoy tons of Shrek themed toys, games, and food with some of their bestes buddies.  They ate their most favorite thing chicken nuggets out of mini Shrek boxes while watching Shrek The Third on DVD.  #3 has been carrying his seriously-shut-it-already purring Puss in Boots Happy Meal toy around ever since and was more than happy to enjoy a little more Shrek related action.  He was particularly excited to see “DA PUSSY! DA FAT PUSSY!” on the big screen.  Yeah, that was exciting.  For all of us.

If all else fails, please note that, if you follow my precise instructions, you are likely to wind up in the same theater as myself (or at least a less-than-awesome replica) which means there is a good chance your kid won’t be the one everyone is looking sideways at.

Good luck and enjoy the show!

Have a Mom Tip you’d like to share?

Link it up and we’ll all take a few moments to revel in your awesomeness!

*A little info about Shrek Forever After: I would give the film a good 3.5 out of 5 stars.  I’ve heard mixed reviews on the thing, but personally I found it engaging, colorful, and rife with Shrek-like humor we’ve all grown to love.  I appreciate films that even adults can find funny and I admit to laughing at a few parts the kids didn’t even get.  Plus, there were numerous occasions in which they laughed out loud.  I think adult critics are too harsh on kid movies, lamenting the loss of pop culture references and double entendres and accusing Rumplestiltskin’s character (he’s the villain by the way) of being one dimensional.  Really?  Because kids don’t really care about character dimensionality and they don’t get the double entendres anyway.  Please believe me when I say that this film, similarly to the previous episodes in the series, is gonna please the pants offa the kids and it’s WAY more adult tolerable than say, Beverley Hills Chihuahua, or Underdog, or, should I go on?  I’m obviously just going to name every talking dog film ever made, as I abhor talking dog films?!

**A little info about  If you aren’t familiar with this program you really should be.  It’s especially for all of you who are as popular offline as you are on.  It allows you to promote new and upcoming products in your home by hosting parties for your family members and friends.  They supply the goods (in the form of items, and/or coupons/gift cards to purchase items), you supply the friends and the buzz (aka you agree to post on your party on your blog or on some other social networking site).  We have done a few of them in the past, but this one was my all time favorite.  Sadly, I am a bit of a McDonalds-aholic.  I know, I know, so bad.  And, thanks to Weight Watchers and my get in a tankini by August self imposed mandate I stay as far away from the golden arches as possible.  But, this was special!  And, the kids LOVED getting to share Happy Meal toys and McNuggets with their buds.



  1. says

    When they get bigger, you can embarrass them so easily and it soothes the soul… And just think, when #3 is 12.5 and you can yell out DA PUSSY! DA FAT PUSSY! because you owe him. Please tell him you saw a cat. I wish I was you.

  2. says

    I’m dying laughing here. I laughed so loud that I woke up my napping baby. lol It’s all good though. The fact that #3 shouted the P word in a crowded theater is hilarious. It always is when it’s someone else’s kid, isn’t it? lol
    Thanks so much for stopping by. I always enjoy stopping by your place as well. Have a great day. :)

    Kristi, Live and Love…Out Loud

  3. says

    Those are some good tips! :) So funny. I need all the help I can get. Soon, I will take my maniac 2 year old for Toy Story 3 – his first movie.

  4. Rachel @ Mommy Needs a Vacation says

    You are a brave woman. If I ever get the balls to take my kids, I will be sure to implement your KEY suggestions! :-)

    • Dumb Mom says

      He’s a demanding little so-and-so that one. He’s cute and cuddly on the outside, but all tyrannical-super-human-super-villain on the inside. There’s a reason the big boys always make him The Bad Guy!

  5. says

    LMAO at “Da Pussy. Da Fat Pussy”. HILARIOUS.

    I thought about signing up with HouseParty, but the only problem with that is to have people over, I’d need to have my house clean. LOL

    • Dumb Mom says

      I know. I have a mommy group though and I have them over once a month anyway. They are the benefactors of much of my House Party loot!

  6. says

    I’m daring to venture to the movies with Scooby. I’m skeered. Very, very skeered. But, I figured if we brought the stroller, parked him on the end, knocked the seat out from under him so he can recline in comfort and bliss, that he just might be enthralled by the dark theater and HUGE tv screen to watch. I have yet to see him sit through an entire movie at home though, so I will have to keep your tips in mind. ;)

    • Dumb Mom says

      #3 won’t do it at home either, but I’m telling you, it’s all about the snackage. Show up with a trail mix and all bets are off, but bring out the big candy guns and you might just have a shot! Good luck!

  7. says

    Out here, so many people talk, yell, swear during movies that a noisy kid would barely be noticed… really annoying. And I’m not talking about older kids or teens specifically but adults too… They seem to forget they aren’t in their own living room

    • Dumb Mom says

      Where do you live, on Tortuga?! Seriously. Adults swearing at the movie? Sounds like a scene outta Pirates of the Caribbean, minus the sexiness of Johnny Depp of course:)

  8. says

    I want to take my 3 yr old to see that how to train your dragon movie…so very good tips! I wish I had something enlighting to share this week but I am just drained!

    • Dumb Mom says

      The Dudes LOVED that movie! #3 was not invited to that one, but the bigger boys came home and played Dragon Training for like 3 days. And, drained posts are often the most enlightening! Helps us all feel okay about the days we spend on the couch with the Disney Channel playing!

  9. says

    So, I’m confused. There’s a Shrek 3, and then a new one, as well? I’m behind. I only knew about the 2nd one. Mom brain at its best.

    Did you crawl under the chair when he screamed the P word in the theatre??

    • Dumb Mom says

      Yes. Shrek 3 is on DVD. Shrek 4 came out in theaters on 5/21!

      And, crawling under chairs is for P… okay, I won’t say it! But, I have heard way worse from my own kids and can only laugh myself silly to keep from running to the bathroom and drowning myself in the toilet every time they embarrass me! I’ll get them back one day. And, that’s a promise, not a threat!

  10. says

    Please tell me that he really did yell that out in the movies. Please. I love that. We are going to try to take both kids to see this movie this weekend. I’m sure I’ll be implementing some of your suggestions.