April 9 2016

Off To The Movies With Your Baby

A few weeks ago, and while watching a TV show about parenting on a German channel, I was taken by a scene shot in a cinema full of parents with their teeny tiny little bundles of joy. After a bit of googling here and there, I was introduced to “Kinderwagenkino“, which literally translates into: ‘Baby Stroller Cinema’.
The concept is to have movie theaters offer baby-friendly showings of brand new movies, to parents with infants and children under 2 years of age. So participating cinemas would specify certain times for these showings and would of course take into consideration babies’ sensitive ears and eyes by lowering the volume and dimming the lighting. The cinemas will also accommodate parents’ needs by providing a changing table inside the theater, (some theaters may provide couches for parents & babies to stretch on and relax) in addition to a designated area to park the baby’s stroller indoors right next to the entrance.

To be honest I was a bit jealous and envious of German parents. And for some weird reason, I didn’t dig deeper, I just let it go and went on as if I never heard of it in the first place… so unlike me :/

Anyways, a few days later, my husband took our older son to the movies, and they came back with a surprise; a flyer titled: “Stars & Strollers“. Which was exactly “Kinderwagenkino”, but Canadian version.
I was over the clouds. I got online, and after viewing what was available for that week, I decided to go for “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2”.
I took my 15 months old boy, and head to the nearest available “Stars & Strollers” location, got my ticket, skipped the popcorn, because I knew better than having a big temptation like that near my curious boy (ordered a latte instead) parked the stroller, and got inside.
It was baby heaven! I saw parents with babies as little as 3 weeks old. My boy was so excited too.
Now unlike almost all moms and dads who came with a play date for their babies, I came solo, not only that, but I made sure I picked the most isolated spot in the theater… a very very wise thing to do if you’re seeking ultimate relaxation and high control of your child 😉 I knew in advance, babies this young will keep crying, which I don’t mind at all, from a distance that is, but right next to me, it wont only annoy the hell out of me, it’ll also trigger my curious boy, who’s really a handful to begin with. So rule of thumb: the farther the better .

The movie was so nice, I laughed a lot, although I think part 1 was funnier. And boy don’t Arabs and Greeks have a lot in common!
I was able to sip my coffee safely and in peace when my little one fell asleep (another great tip: feed baby at home, give herbal tea at theater, works like a sleeping pill 😉 )
You can say my boy was one of the very well-behaved babies in the room…  except for the last 50 minutes that is 😀 he woke up to the screaming of a very cranky baby, felt way too restless to stay in one place, so I just copied other parents and held his tiny arms trying to walk him around, and since I got myself a fantastic spot, I had plenty of room to walk him back & forth, up & down the stairs, and seat him in other chairs for a change. It was really exhausting for me, but I enjoyed it, and so did he.

To wrap it all up: “Starts & Strollers” is a great experience, but I believe, to make the best out of it,  babies should be around 3-7 months old, when they usually sleep a lot, don’t move much and are way much easier to control and calm down. After that, if your child is like mine, then it’d be a bit challenging to keep them content and quite, and it will definitely be exhausting because they would want to keep moving around.
Younger than 3 months of age would work best if the volume was a bit lower, it was great for my 15 months old, but for 3 months and younger I think it’s still a bit too loud.
The lighting was dimmed just enough to suit all ages without taking away the theater ambiance, I loved it.
Another issue I had was the timing, almost all participating theaters around me have the showings at 1 or 2 p.m. which is horrible for parents who have to pick their other kids from school. I hope Cineplex would consider changing the showtimes to 11 a.m. or 12 p.m.

It’s really a shame I didn’t learn about this earlier, that’s why I’m writing to help spread the word. It sure isn’t as comfortable and as amusing as when you’re without your baby, but it surely is wonderful to have this option of going with your baby every now and then. Has a very different taste to it. I highly recommend it!


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Posted April 9, 2016 by Eman in category "Canada", "Cool Stuff", "Just Personal

5 COMMENTS :

  1. By Haitham Jafar on

    So, what / when is the next film? 😀

    I am not a big movie-goer. I like to watch them of course but not in theatres, not my first choice. I am not sure about the whole idea of stroller-ing my way into a movie theatre. I can see the pluses for sure but if such idea hits; then it will be so ever hard to find that combination of remote-spot, good viewing time, sound, mixture of babies/parents/cares, etc…

    *haitham is just ruining it for others as he does not get to go. As simple as that* 😀

    Under 2 yr olds (or even up to 4) require 110% attention. That is MY rule 🙂 and I fail to comply with it in the absence of a movie that I like being presented in front of me. That is what my mind tells me after reading yr post but probably if I experience it I would have a different perspective. Sure any minor detail might ruin the film for you but that is true for anything else too.

    It is hard but I prefer the option of going to see a film with my wife and leave kids (under 5) for 2 – 3 hours with a family member/friend/baby-sitter (althu I hate that option!).

    *I have not seen that one btw. Everyone I know says P.1 was better but still enjoyed P.2 a lot.

    Reply
  2. By Eman (Post author) on

    Lol, you’re not ruining anything, just being honest 🙂
    Well, every week they feature 2 brand new movies, and if a movie is really really popular they might show it for 2 /3 weeks in a row.

    And I do agree with you that children do require all your attention, that’s why I believe the best age group would be 3-7, they can’t move much, and if they want to, they have just enough space in the first few rows to wander around 🙂 My two boy were awesome at this age and I know if I took them it’ll be a breath of fresh air. They slept to the sound of TV, and I could watch a movie in peace, just feed when they’re hungry and that’s it.
    For other people the age group might be stretched to 10 months, or shrunk to 3-5 months depending on the nature of the baby.
    But to be honest, for really restless babies, I believe what Germany’s offering is far much more convenient for parents, they have this open space (no theater seating) and a couch, or some bean bags, or just pillows, for parents to relax while kids crawl, play together and move around in front of them, without worrying where they could go, because it’s designed to have kids “trapped” in one big open space surrounded with adults. That would be fantastic for me 😀

    And as said, it’s not something you’d want to do on regular basis, or as a replacement to going alone, but it’s a good option to have for a change, especially in a country with a very harsh winter season like Canada.

    P.s. getting a remote isolated spot isn’t as hard as you think, the showtimes are programmed to be in the times of least traffic, the theater would be almost empty, compared to regular movie times. The problem is, parents, especially moms, think it’s better to go with other friends, as play dates for their babies, and for them, which may be working just fine for them, but I think it’s always better to avoid that, leave playing and chatting -or gossiping- for other times 😉

    Reply
  3. By Haitham Jafar on

    “moms leaving chatting for other times” – no chance! *joke*

    A closed space would be ideal, I agree. It is a viable option at the end of the day, that is what counts I guess 🙂

    But, but,, but,,, cinema theatres are just sucking us into the consumerism game by this! Slotting dead-times to such a vulnerable market segment with good-enough-options to attract and retain them for further use. I bet more services which include toys, “healthy” snacks, etc. shall follow!

    (the last paragraph was a product of my semi-funny / semi-conspiracy-laden mind) *Eman activates blocking feature* 😀

    Reply
  4. By Eman (Post author) on

    Lol Haitham, you made me laugh like crazy 😀

    Well, I do understand what you’re getting at, but in Canada people (with babies) are trapped indoors for some really long winter months, and at a very early age, the options are pretty limited, so as said, I found such an option to be a plus, especially if you’re a fan of cinemas, which you’re not 😀 come here and let’s see what you’d prefer on a -30°s day, a walk outside or a movie with your little angel… mwahahaha ]:-)

    Reply
  5. By Haitham Jafar on

    u cannot harm me, temperature in Glasgow has surged to reach 7,, SEVEN today! (after 3 weeks of on/off rain; it is called spring break for nothing!)

    I would settle for 25 minutes of a movie + chasing around 2 little wild ones if I was in Canada! *said the summery man*
    🙂

    Reply

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