I remember when having dinner at the local cheap and cheerful coffee shop my mother complained to me that her grandchildren were not very well behaved. Going out for dinner was a little challenging but I was a working mother and a meal out was a treat and babysitters were hard to come by. After all how would they learn to behave in such settings if I didn’t take them to any restaurants. I would go outside with a screaming child or beg crackers and extra milk cartons from the wait staff. I did have some control (I think) they were quite cute and charming and they would usually rise to the occasion and not let me down.
Certainly having your cute and charming young children with you at a wedding can pose the same problems. Waiting around being quiet and staying still are all skills that children don’t have. Parents need to consider their resources when they attempt such outings. Possibly the wedding planners have some activities or a child care area established but this is not always in their budget or even thought about.
Here are some helpful hints:
1. Have some activities that they can do that are quiet and clean and easy to keep in your handbag such as coloring, transformers, stickers, etc.
2. Ask if you can take along your teenaged babysitter, they have the energy to run around in the garden area or in the corner. The expense is yours and you do have a better time but the bride and groom do have to agree to an extra guest.
3. Take along some child friendly snacks that your child likes. Remember hungry children will misbehave more.
4. Take a few time outs with a book or a toy.
5. Smart phones and tablets allow a child to happily watch a favorite video/application, etc.
Lastly if you can all make it through the ceremony and formalities your children will probably love the music and dancing stage. This is when they come into their own and can let off steam safely with shoes off, sliding on the dance floor, entertaining everyone and dancing with the grown ups who are, of course, much more relaxed! Perhaps you have your own memories of family wedding events, the excitement of being with cousins and friends all full of energy and sugar, leaving precious memories of fun and festivity.