How to survive the cinema with young kids

What is nicer than taking your kids to the cinema? Erm. Most things, actually. Here’s some tips to help you survive or at least make it through the whole film.

1. DO remortgage your house. Don’t be fooled into thinking that because you’re watching a certificate U film, that it will be cheaper. Don’t be fooled into thinking that because you’re going at 11.00 AM on a Sunday morning, that it will be cheaper. Don’t be fooled into thinking that because your kids barely make up the height of one adult, that it will be cheaper. It will cost a small fortune. And you will probably say these words when the cashier asks you to pay, ‘Sorry, how much?‘ Add to this car parking, treats and a bacon sandwich and coffee for you (you need some sort of hit, right?) and you’ll probably have to make a quick call to Halifax first.

2. DON’T buy the expensive Kid’s Combo. It might sound cute and your kids might want it sooooooo bad but it’s a con. Because when you get in the cinema, someone will drop theirs, the juice will be the wrong flavour and it will be ALL YOUR FAULT. Next time? Hide a couple of Capri Suns in your bag and your own DIY popcorn. You’ll save about a fiver. But probably not the meltdown.

3. DO expect to spend most of the film in the toilet. This is a given in any situation really. Which does beg the question, why don’t we just save £100 on tickets and trips and visit public toilets instead? Now there’s an activity we can all enjoy…

4. DO pray that the film isn’t longer than 45 minutes. Now my kids can watch a film. From start to finish. (I’m particularly proud of their concentration span. For TV if nothing else.) But there is something about the cinema that makes them fidgety. After 45 minutes, everyone seems to be sitting on my lap squirming, whilst two lovely (expensive) seats are left sitting all alone, winking at me. Rubbing salt in the wound of my empty purse.

5. DO miss the trailers. If you watch the trailers you’ve wasted 20 minutes of concentration span. It’s like having a starter in a restaurant. You just don’t do it. No, far safer to run in just as the film starts and disturb everyone else who got there early, as you make your way to the middle of the row with all your crap.

6. DON’T take a mobile baby. This is obvious, really. But it’s a bit like labour. You forget how painful it actually is until you do it again. And you spend the entire film following him up and down the aisle steps on your hands and knees.

7. DO pack sandwiches. Your child that usually won’t touch a sandwich? That would rather gorge on sweets? That child will throw you a curveball and ask for a sandwich in the middle of the film. Which of course you didn’t pack, because your child never eats them. Until now. (This could be the perfect opportunity to get them to eat stuff like broccoli.)

8. DO clap loudly at the end. Parents don’t do this because they really enjoyed the film. No siree. They do it because the film has finished. And now they can leave. In fact, you’ll never see a mass exodus like it as everyone rushes home for nap time (and a gin in a can).

Clearly this post was sponsored by, erm, no one. But if you lovely people at Picturehouse or Odeon would like to sponsor me to review a film (by which I mean just pay for me and my family to go, ahem) please feel free. Now. Who wants to come and hang out at Surviving Life and Motherhood?

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