Tips on how to have fun when you go to a Musical (or other production that requires a child to sit for a period of time!)
Now that we’ve been to a few musicals and one movie experience, I’ve figured out a few strategies to make the experience fun for me and fun for my child. You see, I like to be organized and prepared and I hate getting caught off guard. When I go to new places, I get antsy because I don’t know where things are (e.g. try finding a toilet when you’re child NEEDS to go pee right NOW and see how much fun that can be). So, if you’ve never been to a musical or any other type of ‘sit down’ production, here are a few tips you might find useful:
Make sure you know where you’re going and what food places are nearby: I always make sure I know exactly where the theatre is in advance. I find out what restaurants are nearby. Why, you ask? I find the timing of the shows aren’t always compatible with lunch or nap time routines. No matter what time I pick, they always seem to interfere with something that we should be doing instead. So, if I know in advance where I can grab a quick and healthy bite for my kid, she’ll have fun because she won’t be hungry or hyped up on overly processed foods and I’ll be happy because I don’t have to worry that she’ll be starving before I can find her next meal.
Find out what time the theatre main doors open: nothing is worse than making your child stand outside to wait and wait and wait for the doors to open when they could be doing something else.
Find out if the theatre allows for snacking during the show: a hungry child will make for a very crummy experience. If I know we can have a snack during the show, I’ll often pack something that she can nibble on safely while distracted. Don’t forget to bring a healthy drink!
Find out if there’s an intermission: especially important for early potty trainers or kiddies in diapers. No need to further explain!
Get to the theatre early: once you know what time the theatre opens, get there early so you can scope out where the toilets and concession stands are, grab your seats, so you’re not rushing in at the last minute in the dark, trying to find your seat with a child who is now overwhelmed by the whole ‘mommy! It’s dark!!!!’ scenario.
Know you’re child: if you’re child is active, don’t make them sit for the next 20 minutes waiting for the show to start. Let them walk around in the theatre. Make the waiting just as fun as the show itself (despite how tired you may be from all this planning!).
Bring a camera, just in case: we’ll often take photos of us hamming it up before the show starts. We take photos of the theatre ceiling, the stage, and just about anything that might remind us of the show after the lights are off and it’s all done. I’m not sure what the rules are about this, but I’ve been to some shows where photography is allowed during the show so long as there’s no flash and there are others that won’t allow any at all.
Prep your child in advance on your expectations and rules: you’d be amazed at how much merchandise the event will try to push on you. I’ve always had a run-on discussion with my daughter about the difference between a want and a need and I try my best to explain why I make the decisions I do. I also try to involve her in the decision making. She knows I think it’s better to buy the CD instead of those crazy flashing blinker toys even though it’s more expensive. At least, with the CD, we can listen to the music afterwards, but there’s less you can do with the blinker toy and it’s more plastic in the house than I care to have. She loves the CDs and so do I. So, before you go, make sure your child agrees to whatever rules and expectations you have. That way, all you’ll have to do is say, “Remember what we agreed on…..”