A Guide to Theater Etiquette Basics for Children

As the average price for a Broadway ticket is now around $110 per seat, taking your kids to the theater is undoubtedly a pricey affair. Teaching your kids, the joy of live theater and the magic of stage production is a priceless experience but even pricelessness comes at a cost. The last thing you want to do is get kicked out for bad theater etiquette after securing those pricey tickets.

Sitting in a live theater production with kids can be a risky affair. They could get bored and start misbehaving. They could misunderstand the difference between theater and a movie or TV show then start talking or reacting loudly.

In order to avoid any disruptive incidents at the theater, teach your kids these 4 basic theater etiquette tips when you’re heading a performance.

  1. Show Up Early

When you’re trying to get kids ready, you know it can be like herding cats. Kids will change outfits while you’re looking away or end up spilling juice all over themselves in a matter of seconds.

If you’re not at the theater at least 15 minutes early, you’re going to be late. You’ll need time to park, get everyone set to walk in, remind them to be quiet, and find your seats.

Arriving at a live performance late isn’t always an option. Some theaters will prohibit you from walking through the door even if you’ve paid for your theater tickets.

Others can be more accommodating but you’ll have to take a less ideal seat and be in an area where your child might not be able to see. This can leave them prone to boredom and ready to act up.

  1. Teach Them Aisle Etiquette

Good audience etiquette entails being good to other audience members. If you’ve got seats in the middle of an aisle, tell them to be kind and apologetic. Lead by example with your own “pardon me”s and “thank you”s.

If they’ve brought a bag with them, remind them to tuck it underneath their chair to be kind to other guests.

  1. No Kicking

There’s something about little kids and the ability to swing their legs. If they can swing them, they will. It’s likely they’ll end up kicking the chair in front of them.

Look out for this, as most people will be too polite to speak to someone else’s children. Make sure the experience is fun for everyone by nipping this one in the bud.

  1. Don’t Bring Food

While kids have fast metabolisms that drive you to constantly have to feed them, don’t eat in the theater. The kinds of crinkly wrappers and crunchy foods like popcorn will make noise and could even disrupt performers.

Avoid soda, juice, and other potentially messy drinks. Stick to water for the duration of the show.

Good Theater Etiquette Sticks Around

One good experience in the theater might be all your kids need to know what to do. If they have fun, enjoy the show, and behave, they will understand the incentive to have theater etiquette in the future. Every time you bring your kids to a live performance, it’ll get easier.

If you want to know a few more family outing options that are fun for kids, check out our list of 10 more ideas.

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