I still remember taking my babe in arms to see Oz The Great and Powerful at a Mums 'n Bubs cinema session, five years ago. I was on maternity leave - the tiny few months I had of it - and I was desperate to get out and see a movie. My son was not a settled baby, nor a good sleeper but I bravely asked my mother's group if anyone wanted to join me. Only one out of the group took up the offer, so we nervously ventured off to the movies, dreading how our bubs would behave, and how long we would make it through the session.
Guess what? Both babies did cry and they needed nappy changes but they also slept and we made it all the way through the film. Having survived this early experience of the movies with child, I never looked back.
How often do you take your under 5s to the movies?
Now 5 years old, my son goes to the movies all the time. How do I do it, you might ask? Well, I certainly can't afford to pay for all those cinema tickets and trips to the candy bar. The answer is, his grandparents take him - they pay, as they can afford it.
But why should a family visit to the movies break the bank for mums and dads? The big cinema chains have a lot to answer for but I try to give credit where credit is due. I've recently been lured back to EVENT Cinemas with promotions such as $8 tickets to the Disney Family Movie Festival. I can see this chain is making efforts to bring families with young children back to the movies, with ticket deals and membership benefits clubs like CineBuzz.
If you've not yet joined CineBuzz for your own sake, think about joining it for your under 5s. (It's FREE to sign up online), If you're not even sure if your littlies will sit through a whole movie yet, the last thing you want to be doing is paying full price to take them. The idea of club with discounted ticket offers is very attractive.
And if only there were some sort of cinema experience like Mums n Bubs, tailored to this tricky demographic - toddlers and pre-schoolers.
The larger-than-life quality we love about the movies, can be intimidating for young children. Designed for children under the age of 5, EVENT Junior features a dedicated play activities area in the foyer, and a modified family-friendly cinema experience. Junior Cinema is the answer to all those fears you've had about your kids embarrassing you at the movies. Kids can be kids here, and enjoy their first cinema experience in a relaxed environment for them and their parents. The concept also boasts:
Showing new release family films and special family events
Select sessions will include a 10-minute intermission
Modified lighting and sound: the lights will stay on low for the duration of the movie and the sound has been modified for little ears
A range of junior snacks and fresh fruit and - newsflash - there's a coffee cart for parents! Hot food is also available at select locations.
Discounted ticket offers for family movies
If you join CineBuzz, you'll be kept up-to-date with the latest discounted ticket offers by e-newsletter but it also helps to keep an eye out on the promotions page, especially if the school holidays are coming up. For example, the Easter holidays are just around the corner (at the time of writing this article), and CineBuzz is advertising members' tickets from $11 on selected family movies, including Peter Rabbit, Early Man, Sherlock Gnomes and A Wrinkle in Time. Some terms and conditions do apply, so just check the fine print at the bottom of the promo webpage, which is updated as new offers arise.
Once your kids have caught the big screen bug, CineBuzz offers a special benefits club for kids aged 3 to 14 years. Members get their own special Crew membership card, access to fun games, competitions, advance screenings and a discount movie every week.
And just in case you're wondering, I don't work for this cinema chain, nor is this a sponsored article. I just know that love/hate relationship that we mums have with taking our kids to the movies, and why many of us refrain from doing so. If you think your kids are too young to enjoy the experience, you're not alone.
I'd love it if you might think again though, with some of the above ideas in mind. It's never too early to create a life-long love of cinema in your children. Experiencing the joy of a family movie with your littlies is simply one of life's great joys.