Young Children and Ceremonies
Young children have the potential to turn solemn moments at jolly ceremonies, and of course entire ceremonies themselves, into a nightmare. Parents suffer, of course, but so do those around them. With the best will in the world, children ‘s behaviour cannot be taken for granted, whether or not they are ‘on show’.
Naturally, the age of the child will enter into the equation, but here are some tips to make it easier for child, parent and other guests.
Try and allow your child to maintain his natural rhythms. If he likes to sleep at a certain time, make it as easy as possible for him to sleep then, even if it means missing some of the post-ceremony socialising and feasting. There may be a quiet room set aside for such eventualities.
Bear in mind that more formal clothes may be uncomfortable for the child, and she may make that discomfort obvious!
Rope in relatives or close friends to share in the task of looking after the child. If a parent is participating in the ceremony, then it’s essential that someone close to the child or baby looks after her. It’s also reassuring for the child to be surrounded (in a crowd) by familiar faces, so have such people seated close by.
If there is that quiet room available, then leave the main event if your child is showing signs of strain or fatigue.
Be prepared to leave early. Children don’t have the same staying power as adults!
If the child is older, you may be able to prepare him beforehand. If he knows there’s a good buffet to follow, he may well be prevailed upon to sit reasonably quietly for a while.
Few people will complain if your little one is reading a book, drawing or playing quietly with some toys. So bring something to amuse her.
Hopefully, your child won’t have a tantrum. If you are relaxed, you are more likely to find that they relax too, and the dreaded scene will not happen.
With a bit of preparation and thought, the ceremony need not be a nightmare at all. A lot of people will be supportive and understanding, if there are minor lapses. Most will be appreciative of good behaviour and will even express this (which will reinforce your child’s desire to earn praise next time).
So go and enjoy!