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taking your toddler to the movies

Source: Klaus Vedfelt / Getty

We’re smack in the middle of summertime in the City Of Philadelphia and since May weeks of rain have been punctuated by the occasional sunny day. When you’re indoors with an excited four-year-old for the day, by lunchtime you’re secretly wishing the Cat in the Hat will walk his ass through the front door, tip his hat and keep your toddler entertained. So a few weekends ago I decided it was time for a new experience as a family and took my daughter to see her first film in a theater.

That Sunday afternoon we settled into our seats to check out at Secret Life of Pets 2 and, honestly, I may have been more excited than she was to see Kevin Hart voice a fluffy bunny named “Snowball” who’s convinced he’s a superhero. A half-hour in my four-year-old had her eyes glued to the screen with a mouth full of pizza. Most importantly I proved my spouse wrong about how our daughter would react. Earlier that morning, he had prepped for breakdowns, a tantrum, and embarrassment as pictured us escorting a frantic preschooler through the aisles and out the door mid-movie. I initially predicted that as long as she was well-rested she would need a moment to take in her new surroundings, but ultimately would relax and take to the behavior of other kids who were focused on the film, and not tuning out and turning up.

As much as you may believe your toddler is a three-feet-tall threat to society, our job as parents is to teach our children how to conduct themselves socially. So as embarrassing and random as our mini-me’s can sometimes be, they want to go out and explore all the world has to offer too. And you can only give them a chance to practice those skills by allowing them to interact with the world. Less than six years ago, I was a child-free twenty-something judging parents over my popcorn wondering why in the hell anyone would bring their three-year-old to date night. Now with my own child, I still wouldn’t bring her to opening night, but before Netflix keeps us permanently handcuffed to our couches, I figured my baby deserved the experience of seeing a Pixar film in a theater. If you’re thinking it’s time for your kid to see their fav character on the big screen, here are some tips on keeping a trip to the movies pain free for both you and your fellow patrons:

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