5 Reasons why parents should not bring their kids (ages 7 & under) to late night movies

I took a lot of heat from a few vocal readers (in a previous blog) about my negative comments about parents bringing kids to the movies at midnight or just late at night. Here are 5 reasons why I think its a bad idea.

1) When you have kids, their well being trumps your desire for entertainment.
2) Your idea of good behavior for your child is different from mine.
3) You cannot guarantee the rest of the audience that your child will be quiet throughout the entire movie.
4) Some movie theatres have rules against bringing children under a certain age into movies after certain hours. They need to make sure that their employees are following their rules.
5) Some scenes in the movie may be sexually explicit, violent and scary and may cause your child to have nightmares. Ratings exist for a reason.

Parents keep saying that their kid will sleep through the movie. Children can be unpredictable and they will be unpredictable when you least expect it. I wrote a blog about kids misbehaving on airplanes. A reader told me that she had travelled with her child several times, without incident. On her last trip her child was behaving terribly and she couldn't calm her down. This can happen at a movie theatre. I have experienced crying infants whose parents take their sweet time leaving the theatre. I have also encountered small children who don't understand the movie so they are constantly asking their parent questions about the movie.

I stand by my comments because I believe that if parents want a late night out, they should hire a babysitter. If they can't afford one or don't know anyone that they trust, they should stay at home. Sometimes being a parent means that you have to sacrifice late night dates for a long time. You can put your child to bed and have a nice romantic dinner and rent a movie if you can't get a babysitter. Many theatres start showing movies at 10 or 11 o'clock in the morning. If parents don't have a sitter they can see the movie during the day instead of going to see a movie with their children when they should be in bed.

So many people keep focusing their anger with me about the movie. It's really about the choice that the parents made. When you become a parent you learn in parenting 101, that children need structure and a certain amount of sleep. There are some parents who respect this aspect of parenting and some who don't. Some people brought up the fact that every now and then kids stay up late and they are correct. However, there is a difference between staying up late when you are at home and being out late somewhere else. When your child is up late at home, you can put them to bed and they will fall right to sleep because they were already comfortable at home. When they are out at a movie, if they are asleep it isn't a good comfortable sleep. You then, go outside and put them in a car and drive home, you take them back out of the car and into your home and change their clothes and put them to bed. Their already bad sleep has been interupted several times during your trip to the movies. I wonder how many parents are compassionate with their cranky children the next day.

The bottom line, is that if you choose to take your children to the movies late at night, please be respectful to others and just know that many of them won't be happy to see your kid. If your kid starts talking, ask him/her to be quite. If your child begins to cry, leave immediately. If the adult next to you says "Shit", "Fuck" or "That Motherfucker is Crazy", you can give him/her a mean stare but only for talking during the movie. You may not give that person a mean stare for cussing in front of your child because your child should not hanging out late at night, watching a movie with adults.

I expect a healthy and respectful debate in the comments sections. Lets begin..........


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  • What is even more disturbing is that the Colorado cinema let the children in. The movie is rated "R:, right?

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    R just means you need to be accompanied by an adult to get in. Maybe it ought to be under 10 or 12 can't get in at all.

  • In reply to Jimmy Greenfield:

    I agree 100%. They need to change the age limits and not leave it to the parents' discretion. Even for movies that are PG-13, some of the content is not suitable for a 5 year old.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Aquinas, the movie was PG-13, but I think that Batman movies are too dark and violent for 4 and 6 year old kids.

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    I think it is outrageous that parent bring small children and even BABIES to some R rated movies. I have to be honest...not because I care about what the child see but I paid my money to see a movie and hear babies cry and scream and whine throughout the movie. RUDE. The author is correct. The parent think that it is OK and seldom leave and when they do they take their sweet time. I am glad the movie theater by my house adopted a policy of NO KIDS under 7 in R rated movies...PARENTS OR NOT.

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    Agree with you 1000%. I'm a mom and I've been absolutely horrified at the number of people who don't see anything wrong with bringing children to an R-rated movie. My biggest issue besides it being just plain selfish is that a baby's ears are not equipped for that level of noise. My husband and I saw the movie last weekend (our son was at home with a babysitter) and we thought it was almost too loud! Exposing a 3 month old to that is child abuse in my opinion.

  • In reply to dookie32:

    Some action movies are so loud that it's hard to understand what they are saying. Honestly, I can't imagine bringing an infant to the movies. When my children were infants we hired a sitter or just didn't go to the movies. Nobody wants to make sacrifices anymore. Me, me, me!

  • glad you brought this up. NOT that I believe it should result in anyone's death, but what kind of parenting skills are we teaching people? I asked a close friend, a parent (because I am not), why anyone would would bring a child of 6 to a midnight movie. She said she would if it was a special movie to the child such as "Penguins" dancing or some such thing. I simply responded that movies directed to 6 yr olds should maybe be screened earlier than midnight.

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    Is it just me? Or does anyone else get the feeling its because people are too cheap to get a babysitter?

  • In reply to Kalyan Parker:

    Kalyan, you have a good point. If it's a movie that you really want to see, you know well in advance when it is coming out. Therefore, you have time to plan your night out and save your money so that you can afford to pay for a sitter. Some people may not be able to afford a sitter but those people should be going to the first show because its cheaper.

  • I'd say that any movie after 6pm should not allow kids under 12.

    Also - I get that these are mostly kids working at theaters but they need to enforce the rules more.

  • In reply to goofyjj:

    I agree because most movies are 2 hours long and they never start on time. A 6pm movie would end at 8:15 to 8:30 and then you need to get home and put your kids to bed. As far as the kids enforcing the rules, I know parents who are always trying to break rules no matter where they are. I'm sure the kids working at the movie theatres have encountered some feisty parents.

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