7 tips to get your children on your side

Survival guide:  when your child is participating in a ceremony

Major public ceremonies can be very stressful for parents and children. Obviously, I can only generalise (as each event, let alone each child, is different), but here are a few words of advice that may be of benefit for an occasion when your child is actually participating.


  1. Try and keep the changes of routine to a minimum. The occasion may involve a fair bit of travel and even hotels, but do what you can to keep mealtimes and sleep close to what she is used to.
  2. Bring favourite toys to provide comfort and, to avoid boredom, books etc. for the ceremony, according to age.
  3. Feed her healthy foods (and definitely not sugar or fizzy drinks shortly before the ceremony). Make sure sensible drinks (preferably not carbonated or very sweet) are on hand.
  4. Your cherub may well be nervous about his role in front of a lot of strangers. A rehearsal is often beneficial. If you can arrange it in the room or hall itself, then so much the better. If he can practise with props that he may need for the ceremony, better still. Take him through everything slowly, clearly and, most of all, patiently.
  5. Be relaxed – if you are uptight, you will definitely communicate this to your child, and his performance will suffer. Smile a lot and encourage her!
  6. If only one of your children is participating, make sure you show appreciation to the other(s) and make them feel valued.
  7. If your child refuses point-blank to participate, it may be best to go with the flow, accept it and warn the adults concerned. Don’t encourage a scene by forcing him to participate after all or by having a go at your child for letting everyone down.

Most guests will be tolerant of any slip-ups committed by your child, and most will be full of congratulations afterwards, even if not all will have gone strictly to plan! So relax!

If you enjoy the occasion, then your child almost certainly will too. Give plenty of praise where possible, and have a lovely time.

Remember: things are rarely as bad as you think they’re going to be!

Avoiding potential nightmares at special ceremonies

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!