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Entertaining a Toddler at a Wedding

The How-To You will NEED if You’ve Got Kids

Everyone loves a wedding. Even kids. There is cake and music and dancing; what’s not to love?

Okay, maybe we should revise that… everyone loves a reception. The wedding? Well, most kids could probably take or leave that. And most toddlers would certainly prefer to leave it. Sitting still and being quiet isn’t exactly their thing, and at least for those 15 to 30 minutes… that’s kind of what’s expected of them.

So how do you corral a toddler during a wedding, keeping them from being a disruption to everyone else who is trying to enjoy all the love?

Well, first of all… you accept that you might not be able to enjoy that love yourself. It seems harsh, but as the mother of a toddler myself I can say… sometimes you just have to be willing to walk out. If your kiddo is struggling to sit still and be quiet, and the wedding is fully underway… it’s not fair to your little one or to the bride and groom (not to mention, all the other guests) to allow your desire to stay seated to cause a disruption.

Pay attention to your little one, and if signs of a meltdown are coming… pick him or her up and walk out. Trust me, it’s the kindest thing you can do, and everyone will still be happy to see you both at the reception!

Of course, sometimes you can keep it from ever getting to that point with a few well-thought out entertainment plans. For instance:

Bring (Washable) Crayons and Paper

A lot of kids can be distracted for several minutes with the opportunity to draw… so provide that opportunity!

Have Lollipops On Hand

Even if sweets aren’t something you regularly give into (and let’s face it, most parents don’t—nor should they), there are certain occasions when distracting your kiddo with a piece of candy might just be worth it. A wedding is one of those occasions. Lollipops are perfect for this because they take kids about 10 minutes to eat—and they are completely distracting! Wait until the bride makes her entrance, then wave a lollipop in front of your kiddo’s face. You’ve just bought at least 10 minutes of quiet stillness.

Give Them a Job

Little ones love to feel like they have an important task to take care of. So maybe buy a disposable camera and tell your kiddo that it is his or her job to (quietly) snap pictures of the wedding from their seat. There are even fairly cheap cameras made nowadays just for kids… with big screens that will allow them to admire their work!

When All Else Fails

Listen, sometimes the best-laid plans just don’t work out. Your kid freaks out in the middle of the I do’s, or worse… you find yourself with a runner on your hands. In those cases, you’re really only left with 3 options:

  1. Hope the dessert table is set up already, and leave them there.
  2. Look around at all the other guests and wonder out loud whose kid that is.
  3. Laugh… because hopefully everyone else will be too.

Sometimes the best stories to come out of a wedding are the ones where nothing goes quite according to plan. Kids are often big contributing factors to that, so don’t stress if your kiddo winds up being a story the bride and groom tell for years to come. Just be thankful they loved you enough to want you to be a part of their big day; and hold onto that story to torture your kiddo with at their own wedding!