So you’ve been invited to a wedding. And you said yes. But you also have a toddler that you’re taking. Now what? Don’t panic. It can be done gracefully and you can even end up having fun all night.
Here are a few little tips and tricks to survive a whole wedding with your little one in tow:
1. Make it an adventure
This might be the first wedding your toddler will be going to, so he might not have any memories of what that means.
Paint a picture of what it’s going to be like attending a wedding, but make it sound exciting, and that he’s going on an adventure that only really well-behaved children get invited to (hopefully that’s his cue to be on best behaviour all evening). Keep it simple, based on your toddler’s age and level of understanding.
2. Have a game plan
Discuss with your partner how best to handle an embarrassing situation if it arises (think crying or screaming toddler), so that you aren’t caught off guard. Take turns looking after the toddler, so that while one is ‘babysitting’, the other one gets to be social and enjoy some food without being rushed.
3. Sit at the back
You may want to be sitting up front near the front pews, but this time, it’s probably better to sit closer to the exit door and have a quick escape route just in case the tantrums start at the worst possible time.
4. Let friends and family help babysit
Hopefully you will know lots of trusted souls at the wedding. If so, use this very valuable resource, as they help look after your toddler, giving you some free time to actually enjoy the wedding too.
5. Bring lots of food and snacks
The last thing you want on your hands is a #hangry toddler! You probably can’t rely on the timing of the food service to feed your toddler, and even then, there’s probably unlikely to be something kid-friendly on the menu. So do yourself a favour and arm yourself with lots of different snacks for him, so that he’s happy and occupied throughout the event.
6. Don’t neglect nap time
If there’s another thing you can’t miss in addition to snacks, it’s nap time. As far as possible, try and ensure that your toddler’s regular schedule (especially the nap time part) is not affected.
Even if you’re going to be a little, it’s really worth it if it means that your little man is turning up well rested AND in a good mood. If the wedding is at a hotel venue, book a room if possible, so that your child can nap there comfortably (and you’ll also have a convenient hideaway place in case the party gets too loud for him and one of you needs to leave the party with him).
7. Now is the time to invest in new toys
Toddlers get distracted easily! Toys are likely to keep him entertained and occupied, so definitely bring along his favourite toys to the wedding if they don’t take up much space (and are quiet enough).
Events like this are also a great time to whip out new toys that your little tyke hasn’t seen before, making it a welcome surprise to keep him distracted. It can be as simple as little colouring books. Tip: When all else fails, maybe allowing copious amounts of screen time at this particular occasion might just do the trick.
8. Don’t forget the stroller
Strollers can be a lifesaver if you aren’t able to manage a proper bed for nap time, or even just to keep your toddler in one place while you’re trying to feed him (or stop him from running amuck through the wedding vows for instance).
Some children love the idea of familiarity and will happily stay strapped in quietly for a while, especially with a device in hand. Others may not like the idea of being denied freedom though, so see what works best for your child.
9. Bring a spare outfit
We can’t stress the importance of this. And it doesn’t just apply to your little one, but also to you. You never know when your outfit is going to be covered in milk, food or vomit, so make sure you have a back up.
And of course for your toddler, it might not be a bad idea to bring along two spare outfits (depending on the length of the event) and lots of extra nappies.
This article was first published in Wonderwall.sg.