6 Tried and True Tips for Bringing Kids to the Theatre

Is this your child’s  first time to the theater? Here are a few tips for an enjoyable experience for you and your whole family!


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Week of the show

Tip 1: Start the conversation early
You are giving your child a great learning opportunity! Help them understand your expectations for their behavior in the theatre before the excitement sets in.

 Ask:

  • What do you think going to the theatre is like?
  • How is seeing a musical different from going to the movies?
  • What should we do when a song or dance is finished?
  • What does being respectful mean?

Act it out:

  • Can you show me what it looks like to sit in the theatre?
  • Show me what it look like to get out all of your giggles and energy before we get to our seats!
  • Pretend you have a question during the performance! What should you do?


Tip 2: Read up on the show

The 5th sends out a “Know Before You Go” email to the ticket purchaser, full of helpful tips on parking, directions, run time and show information. We also suggest checking out the “Content Advisories” tab so you’re prepared to discuss any material that may seem scary or unfamiliar your child. Content advisories are located on every show description page on our website and include a general show rating (ex. PG or PG 13), any drug, alcohol or sexual references, as well as important issues in the show.

Ask:

  • What can you guess about the show from the title, pictures and program?
  • What time period do you think this show takes place in? What do you think was happening in the world at that time?

Act it out:

  • Sing a song you think we might hear on stage!
  • Draw a picture of a costume we might see on stage.
  • Pretend you’re giving a speech! Tell your audience what show they’re about to see.


Tip 3: In case of emergency
If all else fails and your little one is having a rough day, prep for the worst! Bring a stuffed animal/doll/action figure that won’t make noise. Our goal here is to comfort rather than distract from the performance!

Ask:

  • Can you guess who else came to the show with us?
  • Would you like your toy to sit with you?

Act it out:

  • Please teach your toy how to sit and watch the show respectfully!
  • Give your toy a hug so they feel better.

Night of the Show

Tip 4: Run through your itinerary
Now that you’ve read up on what to expect, prepare your child as well! When children have a preview of their schedule, they’re more likely to approach new experiences or unfamiliar environments with ease. Remember to give yourself some extra time to grab booster seats (if necessary) and use the restroom before the performance begins.

Ask:

  • Who remembers what we’re doing tonight?
  • Who is excited?
  • What happens once we get into the lobby?

Act it out:

  • Let’s practice what we’ll do in the theatre! If you’re feeling fidgety, try sitting on your hands or hugging your comfort item.

Tip 5: Have a good dinner beforehand with snacks and water bottles prepared
Set yourself up for success. Pack a few munchies to bring out to the lobby at intermission including water bottles. Having a special treat on hand might not hurt!

Ask:

  • Who is hungry? Remember, we can’t bring food or drink from home into the theatre with us.
  • Remember, we’re all going to try to use the restroom before we sit down!
  • Remember to snack carefully. We don’t want crumbs on your clothes!


Wrap Up After the Show

Tip 6: Don’t forget, your child just had an exciting new experience! Make this a learning opportunity and have a discussion once the show is over.

Ask:

  • What do you think the main message of the show was?
  • Did you have a favorite part, or a favorite character? Tell me why!
  • How was this different from seeing a movie in a movie theater?

Act it out:

  • Act out your favorite scene or number from the show!
  • What was your favorite dance move that you saw?
  • Sing your favorite song from the show!
  • Draw your favorite set or costume from the show.


Live theater encourages children to explore art and creativity in new ways. We’re so excited to see you at The 5th and hope you and your child have a great experience!

Author: The 5th Avenue Theatre

The Nation's Leading Musical Theater

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