Here's How To Handle Your Child At Weddings Without Having Panic Attacks

Sep 16, 2022, 15:20 IST


Have you ever worried about how you will attend an elaborate or long-distance wedding with your young child? You are not alone. Every parent with a young child experiences this trepidation when an invitation to a wedding arrives. To get your kids to socialise without throwing a tantrum somewhere along the way, you need special abilities. Getting them ready and keeping them in their wedding attire demands a different set of skills. In addition, if your child enjoys running around large spaces, you will have no choice but to ditch your heels to run behind them. A little planning in advance will certainly help you navigate the whole wedding scenario smoothly. Here’s how you can manage your child without creating a cringeworthy situation.


Resolve To Keep Calm
A wedding throws up a whole lot of new experiences for children, and they can become confused and irritable at not being able to comprehend what is going on around them, especially when there are so many new people around, many of whom will insist on pulling their cheeks and talking gobbledygook to them. Toddlers especially cannot figure out how to communicate emotions, and will turn to sobbing, yelling and perhaps being downright rude. “First things first, parents need to keep calm through the child’s meltdown without shouting or imposing discipline on them,” avers Bhopal-based parenting coach Dr Pallavi Rao Chaturvedi. “Parents need to understand that the situation is a departure from the child’s normal routine. If your venue has large open spaces, they serve as a perfect spot for children to let off some steam during the meltdown. Calm them down, listen to them, and, once things have been resolved, you can take them back to the main event space.” Keep in mind, Dr Pallavi adds, that, while the children seem to be having fun, it might also get a little overwhelming for them, and that they sometimes throw tantrums not because they want something in particular, but because the environment they are in is overstimulating or a sensory overload. “The first course of action should be to identify the immediate trigger,” she advises. “Has your child missed a nap or a meal, or are the lights and sounds overwhelming them? Once you know what is bothering them, the next best thing to do is to remove them from that situation. Take them to a quiet space, give them a snack, or decide when to leave the venue.”

Be Prepared For Boredom
Remember that weddings are meant to be fun celebrations. Enable your kids to have fun, create memories, and have wonderful times with friends and family. “Weddings are highly stimulating events for children. Still, in younger children, boredom kicks in quickly, after which they might become restless, hungry and overtired,” Dr Pallavi points out. Keep a bag handy with things that your child loves to play with. It can be a small book with a few colour pencils or stickers. YouTuber Nambie Jessica Marak, on the other hand, considers herself fortunate that her four-year-old daughter enjoys weddings and interacting with others. “I don’t have to do anything; she enjoys seeing people. If I talk about a wedding, she will be the first to get ready. She also enjoys hotels, so, if there is a wedding with a hotel thrown in, she will pack her own bag and be ready,” she adds with a smile.

Keep Them Comfortable
It’s important that your child is comfortable at all times. “Dress your child for comfort; no one is going to award ‘best costume’ at a wedding,” advises Nizam Md S, a digital content creator from Chennai. “Feed your child in advance, so that, even if they don’t like anything on the wedding menu, they won’t be hungry. Children are sensitive to light and music, and pandemic babies are more wary of strangers. If they are not at ease, they will withdraw, and, if you don’t address the triggers, they will seek attention by throwing a tantrum.” He feels there is no point in scolding kids and expecting them to behave. “It’s best that you take your child a little away from the madness and let them calm down. If the tantrums don’t stop, you have an excuse to leave a boring wedding,” he adds. Choose where you will park yourself at the venue, make sure you’re armed with a snack that your child likes,
wet wipes and a back-up plan of going home and putting your feet up as well.

A Practical Plan
“Weddings are a sensory overload for children,” agrees Dr Kriti Israni, a child development and parenting expert from Delhi, and founder of Hale & Hearty Kids. “On the one hand, you might see children who are elated and happy; on the other, you might find children who are overwhelmed and crying with anxiety. These are considered normal behaviours because their brains are still developing and each child experiences and expresses emotions differently.” She is quick to add, “Weddings are a lovely opportunity for children to develop social skills, self-confidence and emotional control.” To that end, Dr Kriti offers tips to ensure that children enjoy themselves at weddings:
  •  Prepare your child for an upcoming wedding by taking them to social gatherings and helping them become accustomed to the same.
  •  Discuss weddings with them in advance; explain how they are similar to something they might enjoy, such as a birthday party.
  • Involve them in choosing their clothes for the event and preparing the gifts to generate excitement.
  • Show them images or videos of wedding scenarios and what children can do during the ceremony.
  • Regale them with wedding-related anecdotes to pique their interest and stimulate their imagination.
  •  On the day of the wedding, examine the venue’s décor and food items together and help them identify things of interest. Draw their attention to the flowers and create simple activities, such as gathering fallen flowers in a basket, counting the number of hanging decorations, or playing ‘I spy’.
  • At the wedding, assist them in re-establishing connections with family members they are familiar with so that they feel safe.
Also Read: Here’s Why Teaching Children Empathy Is More Important Now Than Ever