goodManners: It’s showtime…quiet, please

Bringing a child to a performance is a very exciting experience, and should be pleasurable for all.

Teaching your child what to expect and how to display good theater manners is a valuable life lesson.

Before the show

Try to get to the theater a little earlier than when the show begins, to avoid disturbing the performance or other theater patrons.

If circumstances are beyond your control and you’re late, wait for a break in the performance or another non-intrusive time to find your seat.

Also, ask your child if she needs to use the restroom before the performance. Explain that this considerate behavior is a sign of respect to others in the audience, as well as the performers.

Keep all body parts in your seat

Children should understand that once seated it’s important to stay seated and keep all body parts fairly still and close to their body. This means keeping their feet on the floor and not kicking the seat in front of them. Arms are okay on their lap or the armrest, but never on the seat in front of them. These tips can be hard for small children to remember, however a quiet and kind reminder will usually fix the situation. If a child is having trouble it is better to excuse yourself out to the lobby to explain things than to let the child continue to distract other theater patrons.

Quiet please

It’s disrespectful to the performers and those around you to talk during a performance. Tell your child that if they absolutely must say something that cannot wait, they should whisper. Otherwise, explain that you will be happy to talk about the performance and answer any questions at the intermission or after the show.

Dealing with problems

If you must leave your seat while a performance is in session than be sure to quietly say, “excuse me” to each patron who must stand or shift their legs to let you get by.

If your child is being bothered by someone acting rudely (i.e. talking loudly during a performance, kicking their seat, etc.) make sure your child understands she should notify you and not deal directly with the rude person. Depending on the situation you can try to diplomatically and politely rectify the situation, or you can ask the usher or other theater personnel to assist you.

Enjoy The Performance

Exposing and teaching children to enjoy and appreciate the theater and other cultural performances is an incredibly enriching experience. It is also another excellent opportunity to demonstrate the importance of being respectful and considerate of others.