Taking kids to the theater

Make the holiday season even more memorable by starting a new family tradition of going to the theater together. Attending a performance with a young person is a terrific way to celebrate the season and spend some quality time together. Think of it as an adventure away from all of the season’s hub-bub.

Begin by looking for a show that will be of interest to your children. Would they prefer a classic holiday tale or a new production? Is circus a favorite? What about a show that has nothing to do with the holidays? Whatever you choose, purchase in advance and as early as possible to avoid disappointment. Many shows fill up quickly.

Once you’ve booked your tickets, it is time to prepare for the show. The more familiar a child is with the material, the more likely they are to stay focused on the stage. Building a good attention span is a valuable skill throughout life. If the show is based on a specific book, read together before hand. Or look for themes in the show and find books relating to those topics. Some productions may even have study guides to help you get started. Look at the theater’s website, producing artist’s website or call the box office to inquire.

Now that you are familiar with what you are about to see, make sure you know how to get to the theater. Allow for traffic and parking (visit parkpgh.org). Eat a snack or meal before going to the theater. And visit the rest rooms. Remember to talk to your children about good theater manners. Turn off your electronics and hold your conversations until after the show. Applaud, laugh, be surprised, and have a good time.

After the show, recap your adventure together. Ask questions to assess comprehension. Talk about favorite scenes or characters. Discuss how certain situations or outcomes made you feel. Talk about vocabulary words used on stage. Dream up alternate endings. And decide when your next theater adventure will be.