Recently, Entertainment Weekly offered suggestions for how to improve the movie-going experience and one of their ideas was for theaters to offer babysitting.
(I just searched the bathroom to find the old EW and I can’t find the right magazine. And I can’t find the link online either. However, I am pretty sure this theater in Portland is the one EW wrote about.)
The Academy Theater in Portland offers babysitting in the theater for children ages six-months to eight years at a cost of $7.50 per child. You can to make a reservation and fill out their babysitting release form.
Another Western theater chain, Harkins, also offers babysitting in the theater. It is $6 per child for the length of the movie. They’ll take kids ages 3 to 8 in their playcenters. Reservations are not required but encouraged. Parents are given vibrating pagers to alert them if there is a problem.
I didn’t find any of the East Coast, but there may be some I missed. I have never seen it in Atlanta at theaters. (Have you guys?)
For someone like me with three kids, I would get a better deal by hiring my own sitter as long as I was back in 3 hours but for a particularly long movie then it might pan out economically to leave them at the theater. (Actually my oldest would be too old for either of these programs.)
While it seems convenient and you could just go without getting a sitter ahead of time I think I would feel guilty leaving the kids in the lobby while I enjoyed a movie. If I got them as far as the theater I think I would have to take them to a family film.
It reminds me a lot of stores that offer childcare – like IKEA, Macy’s (used to have it when it was Rich’s not sure if they still do) and some Kroger’s stores used to have it. I would have less guilt there because I am trying to to accomplish a task like buying the groceries. It’s going to go faster if I don’t have them with me.
Now maybe if they showed the kids a new release or recently released movie where they were doing something as fun? Maybe that would seem fun for them and not like you were just leaving them in the lobby. (Essentially you are paying the price of a kid’s ticket with the babysitting fee.)
What do you think? Would you leave your kids in care run by a theater (the system sounds a lot of like what churches use (with the beepers)? Would you feel mean taking them to the theater but not to a movie? Would that type of service encourage you to go to the theater more often? Would it work out to be cheaper than hiring a sitter at home?
– Theresa Walsh Giarrusso, AJC Momania