Live Show Etiquette for Kids
In Atlanta, opportunities to see live performances abound! Live music, touring and local theater productions, improv comedy shows and other live acts would be exciting to attend as a family. But before you set out for an entertainment adventure, make sure you’ve covered the basics of live show etiquette with your kids.
First, check whether you are able to bring children to the show you want to attend. Of course, many shows are produced specifically for children. But when you venture into general audience territory, different rules apply. Some venues allow all ages, while others have restrictions because they serve adult beverages or the show time is late. Visit the website of the host venue for a play or musical and you’ll find notes about the material, including whether there will be mature language or situations. Even if there are no restrictions, like a classical music concert, check the run time and determine if this is something your child will enjoy. If they’d find it boring, or too long, skip it in favor of a more kid-friendly option. Need some ideas? Check out recommendations for enjoying live rock music with your kids from Atlanta Parent staff and readers!
Go Over Rules
Go over with your kids what happens when a live show begins. Much like a movie, there should be no talking/whispering and no use of electronic devices. Keep feet off chairs in front or beside you, and if your child may have difficulty seeing over the seat ahead of them, bring a booster or pillow or to elevate the view. It’s never okay to stand or kneel on a chair because that obstructs the view of the person behind you. Everyone is expected to stay in their seats or space once a performance begins, unless there’s a bathroom emergency. If the venue allows food and drink, then enjoy! But be careful not to make a mess or too much noise unwrapping candies or slurping a drink. If an intermission is scheduled, let your child know to anticipate a potty break/stand up and stretch time.
Get to your performance place with plenty of time to use the bathroom, get snacks or swag if available, and become accustomed to the space. If you have to pass people to get to your seats, be sure to remind kids to say “excuse me” and carefully step over – not on – their feet or belongings. Time before a show can be used to look at a program, if there is one, to become familiar with plot, players or pieces that will be part of the show. Children become more invested in the performance when they know what to expect.
A big difference between live performance and movies is that frequently the performers can see the audience. They feed off the attention and energy of their audiences, so give your full attention to them. If something is funny, laugh! When a piece or scene concludes, clap! But kids shouldn’t talk back to those on stage or shout out questions or comments unless the performer asks for them, like suggestions during an improv show. At the conclusion of a performance, some actors or musicians may greet audience members and that’s a perfectly acceptable time for your kids to ask for an autograph or a photo together.