Kids are awesome, so are home-theatres. Regrettably, the two don’t usually mix; at least, not without preparation. Kids love a good movie experience and do parents. It’s our choice to allow (or not allow) them to have that experience, but there are some precautions to take that will preserve both sanity and merchandise. Here are some specific tips to help you build a kid-friendly home theatre where they can watch their favourite movies and play their favourite games.
This is a guest post by Dwayne Thomas.
How to set up a home-theatre for kids
How to set up your seating arrangements in your home theatre
No matter how young your kids are, they always seem to want to play grown-up. We purchased theatre seating for our home, but not enough for the little ones. Luckily, there are manufactures that produce child-sized theatre seating. They’re not too expensive, come in exact replicas of the adult size, and can usually be found in vinyl, which is easy to wash. On top of that, the children will enjoy the cup holders and storage container between the two seats.
If that’s not the route you want to go, you can always try the simple approach and include vinyl beanbags or love sacs instead. They’re easy to move, comfortable, and perfect if your child falls asleep.
Media Center + Devices for your home theatre
This is probably one of the most important aspects of setting up a home-theatre for kids when it comes to protecting your devices AND the children:
- TVs: These are best mounted to the wall or hidden in a cabinet. Smaller children love pushing buttons and rubbing their sticky fingers all over screens, which will frustrate you and ruin your hardware. To make matters worse, a child could pull a TV onto themselves. Another good option is purchasing a projector and mounting it to the ceiling.
- Cabinets: All cabinets should be at least 2 feet deep (for climbers) and have doors with child locks if required. If your cabinet contains both a television and multiple media units, it might be wise to use brackets and fasten the furniture to the wall.
- Wall mounted speakers: We all love great sound when it comes to movies, especially the kind of base that makes the floor shake. Unfortunately, toddlers always seem to find a way to climb on, tip over, or pull the wires from our precious audio components. This is why I recommend that you purchase wall-mounted speakers instead. A good example is the Yamaha YSP 4000 Sound Projector.
- Media Server: You don’t want dozens, or even hundreds of containers in open view and reach of children. DVD cases and CD cases contain hard-earned money that I’m sure you don’t want to see ruined. That’s where a media server comes in. Transferring your movies and media files to an Xbox, PS3 or Apple TV is a smart move, while making the experience a safe and convenient one.
Kid friendly walls and floors in your home-theatre
Protect the walls and floors, while making it a comfortable experience. Choose a color of paint that’s pleasing to the eye such as green or light blue. Make sure to choose a kid proof interior paint like gloss or semi-gloss. For the floors I recommend installing inexpensive laminate instead of carpet, and using rugs, which can be removed and washed individually.
Electrical dangers in your home-theatre
Don’t forget the toddlers and the importance of child-proofing your home, especially the theatre room! This is critical when it comes to electrical hazards. Just so you know, a single 7.5W Christmas tree light bulb, passed through the chest, can kill an adult in under a second. So tamper-proof your outlets, use child resistant wall plates, outlet caps, switch locks and install night lights. It’s also smart to avoid using extension cords whenever possible. Children not only trip over them, but toddlers are more than likely to chew on them. If in doubt, Expert Electrical offer electrical saftey solutions for the home
Nap areas for your home-theatre for kids
No matter how excited they are to watch a movie, there’s always one child that can’t make it through a viewing. Before you know it they’re snoozing away, sprawled out in the middle of the floor. This is why I like to have a small corner of the room set aside for the sleepers. There’s always a beanbag with a little pillow and a blanket for those who prefer to take a nap.
It doesn’t take a whole lot to set up a home theatre for your kids. In fact, with a little forethought and planning, you can alter a current theatre room into a child’s haven, without compromising your own desires and comfort. Just remember to be aware and attentive to the needs of your children, and address them.
Additional reading: DIY projects for kids
Photo by Leonid Mamchenkov
Author Bio: Dwayne Thomas is a tech enthusiast and staff writer for cabletv.com. He welcomes your feedback on Twitter @DwayneThomas15.