Catching a live performance with your child at the Esplanade? Learn these essential tips for a fun, pleasant theatre experience for both parent and child!

This article was orginally written and published by Esplanade, find out more here.

Thinking of opening your child’s eyes to the sights and sounds of a theatre, dance or music performance, but afraid that he or she will start bawling or acting up during the show?

Here are some tips to manage that.

8 tips to surviving a live performance with your child 

1. Check the details of the performance

Some performances are created for a specific age-group, while others may have specific conditions for entry. Some performances have relaxed attitudes towards noise and movement or are created for children with sensory sensitivities, while others have strict conditions for entry and exit. Find out the seating arrangements: is it floor-seating, free-seating or assigned seats? How long is the show? Consider these details and your child’s needs before you purchase your tickets to the show.

2. Pick an appropriate time

Even before you purchase tickets to the show, pick a timing that is most suitable for your child. What time is your little one’s afternoon nap? When is feeding time? How long is the show? When is the best time to be out and about? Considering these factors before purchasing your tickets will make the trip a little more effortless.

3. Feed the child!

Make sure that you fill your child’s tummy before the performance. Don’t forget to bring along a bottle of water and some snacks that you can break open in an emergency. Keeping him or her well-fed beforehand ensures a smoother experience for both parent and child.

4. Bring that favourite toy

It’s normal for children to be nervous in an unfamiliar environment so a favourite toy may be a source of comfort, especially for the very young. The toy can also be used to occupy their time and attention before the show starts and stops them from getting fidgety.

5. Leave early

Pack your bag the day before and have a checklist of things to bring. Not rushing for the show means that you can take your time. Have a sip of coffee or grab some grub before the show, or bring your child to the kids’ activity space PIP’s PLAYbox. If anything unplanned happens, you have time to address it without missing the show.

6. Make a pit stop at the loo

Change your child’s nappy or bring him to the toilet before the show. This saves you from having to make a quick dash out later. If he refuses to go and asks to go in the middle of the show, there are toilets just outside the performance venue. There are also kids' toilets right outside PIP's PLAYbox.

7. Tell your child what to expect

You can share with your child more about the performance, what behaviour is or is not expected of them, and the space they will be in.

There may be moments of darkness, sudden or loud sounds and actors moving around – tell them about it so that they will be ready if it happens. The older ones may benefit from knowing more about the story or characters they will encounter during the performance. Show the production trailers or go through the pre-show guide if it is available. Sharing these won’t spoil the surprise but will help prepare your child.

8. Familiarise yourself with the arts centre

Find out more about the family-friendly facilities and restaurants and shops at Esplanade. This will go a long way in making the outing a smooth one.

Here, you can find nursing rooms with hot water, stroller parking if you want to visit PIP’s PLAYbox, the children’s toilet right outside PIP’s PLAYbox and the Esplanade Theatre Studio, where the PLAYtime! series of productions for 2- to 6-year-olds is usually staged. Drop by the centre earlier to find out where the kids can take a break, find something to eat or have fun enjoying the arts.

This article was orginally written and published by Esplanade, find out more here.