Make Sure Everyone Can Have a Good Time, Including Your Kids
Wedding season is here and the invitations are sure to start rolling in. If you receive an invitation which includes your kids, extra planning and preparations are necessary to account for their unique needs during the ceremony and reception.
Depending on their age, they may not understand the importance of a wedding or that they will not be the center of attention. Taking the time before you get to the wedding to explain what’s expected of them and how to behave will save you a lot of headaches the day of.
Once you’ve arrived at the wedding, there are a number of ways to deal with your kids and ensure they enjoy themselves and don’t get too out of hand.
Bring Activities to Do
Children need stimulation and playtime on their level. Weddings are long days meant for adults and don’t often have entertainment or activities for children.
It’s up to you as a parent to provide that for them. For the ceremony, which likely won’t interest them, bring an activity book, small toy, or a handheld gaming device they can play with quietly.
Make sure they know there is no talking during the ceremony. If they have questions they can write them down on a notepad or ask after the ceremony is over.
It’s a lot easier to keep kids entertained during the reception, which is usually a lively affair with music, dancing and food. Have your kids interact with other little ones and take them out onto the dance floor.
Play “I Spy” with them or prepare some other kind of game they already know. If you have older children, get them involved too so you can have a break once in awhile.
Ensure They Are Well Fed
Even if you know what kind of food is being served at the wedding and have picked out something you think your child will like, bring a few extra snacks along anyway. Children can be picky eaters and may turn their noses up at something that they normally eat.
If they’re hungry, they’ll get cranky and may throw a tantrum or cry because they’re tired and lacking energy. It’s also important to teach them table manners when eating in public so as not to offend others or embarrass you or themselves.
Keep Them Close
There are lots of people at weddings, many who may be strangers to yourself and your child. Being in a new setting with new people can be overwhelming for children, especially if you were to become separated.
It’s important to keep them close to avoid any dangerous or uncomfortable situations. Don’t let them wander off or go anywhere without someone you know and trust.
While kids might act out if they don’t understand why they can’t go where they want to, promising them a reward at the end of the day for listening to you may be an effective incentive.
Discipline Them in Private
Unruly behavior at weddings is definitely a no-no for both children and adults. That being said, if your child is out of control and causing a distraction, remove them from the situation immediately.
Do not try and discipline them in front of others, which will only cause embarrassment for everyone, including your child. Instead, escort them out, calmly asking what’s wrong and then explaining to them why their behavior is inappropriate for the situation.
Present the situation as a treat that can be taken away if necessary and ask if they would like to go back in, explaining all the fun that’s still to be had.
Don’t Be Too Hard on Them
It’s inevitable that your child will display some sort of meltdown due to the fact that a wedding is something new and different, and disrupts their regular schedule. Smaller children and babies will have a harder time because they’re more dependent on you for food, bathroom needs and sleep.
Recognizing this will allow you to understand why your child may be having a problem at a particular time of day or in a specific situation. If 7:00 p.m. is normally bedtime, but they’re expected to be up getting their photo taken, don’t expect a completely cooperative child.
Instead of getting angry or frustrated, comfort them and tell them to do their best. Bringing along a comfort blanket or toy may help ease the situation and keep them calm and cooperative.