UPDATED! Baby and Child-Friendly Cinemas in Sydney

What is it about giving birth that suddenly makes mums and dads  stop loving going to the movies?

Nothing, is the answer!

I was at the movies when I was in labour with my first son, turning up the TENS machine scene by scene. I was just as keen to see movies after he popped out as I had been before.

 

How To Go To The Movies With A Baby or Toddler

Tiny babies often behave very well in cinemas, sleeping a lot and feeding the rest of the time, but as they grow bigger they don’t always comply with accepted adult cinema etiquette. Other cinema-goers are not very impressed when a baby starts to squawk and splutter, or even screech and shriek.

When they get a bit older, babies want to sit up and watch the screen and pass their own comments on the action.

The special baby-friendly film screenings and the cinemas with ‘baby crying rooms’ are the ideal places to frequent.

Baby Crying Rooms

A ‘baby crying room’ is not the most descriptive term since most babies are very happy in these sound-proof rooms set at the back of the cinema. The rooms have huge windows, and up to 10 seats. Some have other amenities for babies such as bouncers and change tables.

Finding Out About Baby-Friendly Cinemas and Screenings

I’ve posted on all the baby and child-friendly cinemas in Syney:

Babes In Arms at Greater Union and Event Cinemas

Babes In Arms at Palace, Norton Street

Baby Crying Rooms at Warriewood

Mums and Bubs Sessions at Hoyts

Randwick Ritz Bubs Club

Reading Cinema, Rhodes

REEL Bubs at Dendy Newtown

Richmond Regent Baby Crying Room

Roseville Cinema Baby Crying Room

[Things do change… please do email me if you find a new cinema which is great for babies and young children. Likewise if any of the details have changed. Thank you!]

 

What Do Parents Say About Baby-Friendly Cinemas and Screenings

As is often the case in baby-related matters, some parents swear by the screenings and crying rooms and others swear about them!

Here is a handful of comments from film-going parents are carers.

 ‘I wouldn’t advise anyone to go to see a film that requires much concentration. It’s not the way to see a Schindler’s List, there can be just too much commotion, but with light-hearted films it’s no problem.’

‘Sometimes you get a bit of a pram traffic jam, so I just walk her along in the sling. She likes to sit on my lap now, watching the screen sometimes and playing with her toys, blowing raspberries if she gets fed up.’

‘Baby crying rooms are great for parents; there’s more choice of films as they are available for every screening in cinemas that have them. They’re great for nights out as a couple—it’s a bonus if the baby does drop off and let us watch in peace, but it doesn’t matter if he doesn’t.’

‘You do gets lots of screaming at the screenings, but that’s the beauty of it. No-one expects perfect peace and quiet, and no-one gets it!’

And here’s a post on whether to BYO popcorn to the movies!

Do you visit the movies with your baby?

Any top tips?

Enjoy your movie!

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Posted on: June 8, 2018

7 Comments

  • Reply February 1, 2014

    Linda

    Hi Seana – great list! I used to go the the Palace Cinema Norton Street almost every week after the birth of my first baby … loved it.
    Reading Cinema at Rhodes has Crying Rooms in it’s 2 largest cinemas. It is my local these days so please let me know if I can help with a write up.
    Linda

    • Reply February 2, 2014

      Seana Smith

      Oh I didn’t know that. I must add it to the list. Would love to hear more about it. Thank you.

  • Reply August 24, 2015

    Una

    Hi,
    I’ve heard that some movie theatres can be strict about how old the baby must be to attend. Some say under 3, one even says under 1 and requires you to submit a birth certificate, which then has to be approved by the cinema! I think that would be a problem for me because I’m a teenager and I require the amenities offered at baby-friendly screenings. For example, they offer “lowered volume for baby’s sensitive hearing”. Well, my hearing is pretty sensitive, and I’m also sensitive to touch and vibrations. And when I get overstimulated, it’s not fun. They also say it’s OK if the baby cries or otherwise makes noise during the film. I’m quite impulsive and often comment on what’s going on, sometimes referencing my interests (at regular screenings, I’ve been shushed a lot). I’m worried that if I go to the cinema that requires you to attend with an infant under 1 year old and show a birth certificate for proof, that they won’t let me in, even though I need these services and find it difficult to attend otherwise. If they refuse to let me in even after showing them a doctor’s note, would that be a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act?
    I’ve heard that some cinemas in the UK are offering dementia-friendly screenings, and the movies shown at those are typically old musicals, which I enjoy. Not only they lower the sound and allow people to make noise, they have volunteers and educate the entire house staff on how to help someone who might be confused (I’m socially impaired, so do you think that would be helpful?). I hope these screenings will come to NYC so I can participate.

    • Reply August 24, 2015

      Seana Smith

      Hello there, we’re in Sydney Australia and there are some sensory movie days here which are specially for people with sensory issues. You might find something like that in NYC?

      My son has ASD and sounds like he has similar issues to you. Can’t help with info about any US legislation but wishing you all the best for finding screenings that work for you.

  • Reply August 24, 2015

    Una

    Hi,
    I’ve attended some of AMC’s sensory-friendly screenings, as well as one Regal baby-friendly screening (the baby-friendly screenings are often hard to attend since they conflict with school hours. If I’m off from school that day because of a holiday, then I might be able to go unless I’m going outta town. If I’m off because I’m indisposed…I’d probably be too sick to enjoy the film). For Broadway shows, I attend performances that are more catered to my needs, thanks to TDF’s Autism Theatre Initiative (I attend regular performances too, but usually I’d wait to see if ATI is planning it first. Or I’d go to Disney Live/on Ice (or any TYA show) which is usually packed with small children, so they wouldn’t really care if the audience gets noisy (besides, those shows aren’t very long, which is good because even though I love seeing shows, sometimes I get restless. Usually I can sit still for a 1-hour long act, but when I saw On the Town, the first act was 1 1/2 hours long, and at one point I was asking someone when the interval was.
    I have heard that the idea of autism-friendly performances has made its way to the UK and to Australia. I’ve heard that The Lion King will have such a performance in Perth on February 11 at 4pm. I don’t know how far away Perth is from Sydney, but I’m pretty sure they will do one in Sydney in the future. But if you can make it to this or any subsequent performances, could you please use the voice recorder app on your phone to tape the audio of the entire show? I know you’re technically not supposed to do this, but I am a collector of bootlegs and I really want to add autism-friendly performances that I have not attended to my collection. I know how this stuff works, so feel free to ask me about tips on these kinds of things, but I’d prefer if you email me privately. Thanks!

  • Reply January 6, 2016

    em

    Manly cinemas are closed.

    • Reply January 6, 2016

      Seana Smith

      Oh dear, thank you so much for letting me know!

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