Taking Your Kids to the Theater
April 3, 2006
Taking your child to see a live theater performance is a beautiful idea. But it’s sometimes easier said than done. Use these tips to ensure that the event is enjoyable for you and your child.
- Pick a performance that is appropriate for your child’s age. For instance, ballets such as The Nutcracker or La Cenerentola (Cinderella) contain subject matter that is suitable for children and bright costumes and action that are sure to hold their attention. The theater's box office can tell you whether or not a show is appropriate for your child's age.
The length of the show may also be a consideration. For instance, a two-hour show with an intermission may be more palatable to a child than one lasting four hours.
- Spark some excitement about the performance in your children. You can do this by allowing them to help you make choices about which performance to see or when to see it. They may become more interested in the event if they feel a part of the planning process.
- Talk about the story with your child before the show. Better yet, if the story is based on a book or if a synopsis is available, spend some time reading it together.
- Discuss what it means to be a good audience member by explaining how the performance is not a time for play but a time to sit, listen, watch and enjoy.
- When the performance is over, encourage your child to ask questions and talk about what they liked (and disliked) about the show.
If you are not enjoying a performance or if your child seems overly restless, you don't have to stay. Simply leave between scenes or during an intermission when it will cause the least disruption. In the end, you may have missed part of a great performance, but you've laid the groundwork for enjoying the theater with your child in the future.