There’s something magical about that moment when you’re sitting in a theatre and the curtain rises signalling the start of a performance.
If you’ve got popcorn in your lap, a drink in your hand and a perfect view then you’re all set for a great evening. However, what if you’ve got a restless toddler stretched out on top of you? Will you still appreciate an unforgettable performance, or will your child have an unforgettable tantrum of epic proportions? Here are some tips for a trip to the theatre with a toddler.
Are They Old Enough?
Check what age your chosen show is recommended for before you purchase tickets. For example, my nine-year-old loved going to see ‘The Lion King’ in the Bord Gáís Energy Theatre but the ticket clearly stated that the musical was unsuitable for young children, so we didn’t bring my toddler along. If there’s nothing specified on the ticket, check out reviews to see what other parents thought or, failing that, give the venue a call.
Comfort Is Key
Check if the theatre has booster seats before you go into the auditorium; sometimes you may need to pay a fee to rent one and you’ll get your money back once you return it at the end of the show. While some cinemas only offer hard plastic versions, I know from first-hand experience that the 3Olympia Theatre lend you soft booster cushions that will keep kids comfortable for the duration of the performance.
When it comes to the interval, speed is of the essence if you want to get a spot at the front of the queue for the toilets. The venue will be able to let you know what time the break is due to take place so you can ensure you’re all ready to make a run for it. If you have a young child that isn’t toilet trained yet, check beforehand where the nearest loo is with nappy changing facilities. We’ve been caught out before and I’ve had to change my young son’s nappy in a tiny cubicle, which was claustrophobic to say the least. If you’re happy to sacrifice a central position in the auditorium, being on the end of a row may make things easier when you have kids.
Is It Snack Time Yet?
The one thing that will make your trip more enjoyable for everyone is if you bring plenty of snacks. Of course, theatres sell a selection of treats for you to purchase but if you want to be economical or you’d prefer to bring healthy options then you’ll need to all fill your pockets. Choose treats that will take a long time to eat and that won’t leave them with sticky fingers. Fingers crossed they’ll be so busy working their way through their snacks, whinging will be the last thing on their mind!