One thing we recommend doing before your little one starts toddling around is attend a baby-friendly movie screening. The hubby and I frequently get our home cinema groove on with a projector, screen and surround sound speakers. But nothing beats a big screen, wall to wall Dolby and the crunchy symphony of popcorn in strangers’ mouths as the credits roll.
There’s a host of cinemas around the capital that offer special screenings for grown-ups and their pups. Usually they provide stroller parking, baby-changing, lowered volumes and an auditorium that’s lighter than normal so you can keep an eye on your infant.
Jed was already 8 months old before I joined the Rio Parents and Babies’ Club at the Rio Cinema in Dalston, E8, exclusively for parents of children under the age of one. The Rio is a classy joint that screens the latest releases mainly with an arthouse and indie bent.
Arrive early to grab one of the coveted five spots for pushchairs inside the auditorium, otherwise you’ll have to park your stroller outside. This was the only downside: having to extract Jed – who had conveniently fallen asleep – from his seat and bundle him inside without spilling my hot chocolate and delicious home-baked cupcake.
All in all, it was an enjoyable experience. I can’t say I loved the film (Jane Campion’s Bright Star) as much as I’d anticipated and I’m sure this had as much to do with Jed wriggling in my arms as the lack of chemistry between the two leads.
If you’re heading to a movie with your babe, avoid anything a) too talky; b) too complex; c) too self-absorbed.
That said, I’ll be heading back to the Rio on Thursday Jan 21 to watch An Education. It’s our last month as members (sniff), although happily the Phoenix in north Finchley welcomes babies up to 18 months.
Membership at the Rio is free, sign up on the day or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more details on parent and baby screenings around London, check out our handy Cinema guide (coming soon).