Before planning on attending a live show with your child, it is important to be prepared and know what you are doing, because attending a live kid’s production is much different than just going as an adult to the theatre.

Since we rarely watch television in our home, we have found that theatre productions are a great way to bring our favorite books to life. In the last year, Zayden (my 4 year old son) and I have been to numerous live stage productions, including The Gruffalo, The Cat in The Hat, The Little Red Hen, Goldilocks and many more.

Here are some of my “Super Tips” for Attending A Live Theatre Production With Kids  based on my own experience attending these shows – 

(1)   Make Sure Your Child Is ReadyMake sure your child is ready to attend a live stage production. Lots of younger kids get scared and start crying during the show. It’s scary to see their favorite characters come to life. Even if all your friends are buying tickets, don’t rush into buying tickets if your child scares easily. Tickets are not cheap, so don’t waste your money.

(2)   Buy Tickets Early. Try to purchase your tickets when the show is first announced. They usually have early bird specials and promotions if you buy early.

(3)   Pick The Right Seats. Review the seating chart of the venue carefully before purchasing tickets. Sitting in the first 2 rows is not usually a good idea since you will need to arch your neck to see. Also, if you think your child might get scared during the show, it is better to get tickets that are further back in the theatre. The closer you are to the front the bigger and louder the characters appear. However, if your child is accustomed to attending the theatre, get seats close to the front is a good idea. The front 7 rows are usually the ones that always the most involved especially when the show requires a lot of audience participation.

(4)   Choose the Right Show Time. Try to choose a time that does not overlap with your child’s mealtime or naptime. It is hard for anyone to enjoy a show with a rumbling tummy or when they are sleepy.

(5)   Know The Story. Prior to attending a show make sure your child knows the story that you are watching. If you aren’t able to buy the book, then look online for excerpts from the book or on YouTube for the video. Also, start getting your child excited for the show. Explain to them what they will be seeing and doing.

(6)   Dress Warm. Even though outside may be scorching temperatures it is usually very cold inside the theatre. Make sure to dress accordingly. Note: We usually dress in long sleeves and jeans. I also bring an extra shawl in my purse which can act as a blanket.

(7)   Arrive Early. Plan on arriving early to the show, this way you will have time to go to the bathroom before the show starts. Also, sometimes there may be a special performance or some vendors set up outside the show. Not to mention in case you get lost or can’t find parking at least you have time to spare without having to stress out. It’s no fun when you are late and the show has already started.

(8)   Eat Before The Show. Make sure your child is full. Snacks are usually not allowed once the show starts. Note: Zayden usually sneaks in some snacks, but we have gotten scolded many times for eating during the show.

(9)   Get a Show Program. They usually give out free programs when you enter. Read some of the information to your child as you wait for the performance to begin.

(10) Take Pictures the Show. Make sure you take some pictures before the show. During the show pictures are not allowed. Note: I usually have Zayden take a picture holding up the show program in his seat or standing in front of the big show sign as you enter, this way we still have a scrapbook memory of the show.

(11) Save your ticket stubs. Sometimes you get discounts on future shows or at nearby vendors with your ticket stub.

(12) Don’t Rush Out. Don’t be in hurry to leave, some shows allow for a picture with the “cast” after the performance. This makes a great souvenir from the show.

(13) Discuss The Show. Once the performance is over, discuss with your child what they liked about the show. Ask them who was their favorite character? What was their favorite part? Help them understand what parts of the show were confusing. Ask them some of the similarities and differences between the book they have at home.

Let me know if you have any more tips to add to the list. Hope you enjoy the show!