Archive for the ‘Weddings and kids’ category

How children manage weddings

November 12, 2009

 children at weddings, include kids at weddings? do kids belong at weddings? should I bring my children to weddings? parenting advice; parenting tips                                                                                                                                                                       The girl at left summarizes how some children feel about weddings!

Children are expected to be quiet and still. She’s doing pretty well.

Parents shoulder the stress of children at weddings. They have to take care of them and set boundaries.

One reason I brought my brood of four children to church regularly was for them to learn to sit down and be quiet for 30 or 60 minutes. It’s a valuable skill.

Some parents tell me, “I can’t take my children in public.” It’s reasonable for parents to expect children to behave in public. Good training starts at home.

When parents set reasonable limits at home, they prepare their children to follow limits in public. Parents who respect the attention span and schedules of their children can take them out in public for short times.

In the classic case of the child screaming in the store, it’s the mother (usually dads have more sense and less desire to shop) who is at fault. She’s not respecting the needs of the child by demanding he behave in a store when he should be playing, eating or sleeping. If moms want to shop, get dad to watch the child, hire a babysitter, ask a relative to help, trade babysitting with a friend, or stay home.

Some children would rather stay home from weddings.

Children can be stressed by being included in the bridal party. When my 6 year old daughter was in her aunt’s wedding, it was enough to be included, get the outfit ready and day dream about it in advance.

The young flower girl had a melt-down on the wedding day because the excitement was too much to contain. Somehow she collected her emotions and managed.

Like many brides today, her aunt wanted my daughter to participate. We brought her two younger brothers, too, so we were on duty for the wedding — until the kids wore out and we turned them over to a babysitter on call — the ideal situation.

Weddings are adult events. Children are not mini-adults. I don’t say this often, but children are entitled to have their stamina respected. Children are not at weddings to perform, be displayed or to make their parents look good.

They want to have a good time, and I can guaranteed their good time is different and will end a lot sooner than our good time.

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Should I bring my baby to a wedding?

November 12, 2009
should I bring my children to a wedding? parenting about, parenting tips, good parenting books, helpful tips for parents, families parent, help parenting, parenting

Should kids be included in weddings?

I’m amazed at how many people bring babies, toddlers and children to weddings these days. Some bridal couples kidwedding2make it clear, “Children welcome,” and go so far as to match the dress of the 1-year-old to her bridesmaid mother, who carries the tot down the aisle on her hip. Who can argue with that level of cuteness?

Because Bob & I had four children in seven years, spending a day at a wedding with our brood would have been exhausting. We sprang for the babysitter and left them behind to play Candyland, feast on chicken nuggets and have a special toast of ginger ale.

As soon as they could sit still and quiet during the service and entertain themselves during the party — by age 7 or 8 — I had no problem including them. It was one less meal to fix! They enjoyed it. As long as the wedding was earlier in the day, it didn’t tax their nervous systems too much.

Today’s families are smaller and children may be in day care all week, so parents want to maximize time spent with the children.

Provided children are invited, couples who wonder, “Should I bring baby to a wedding” should ask: “Will it tax the us or the little ones to attend?”

Little children like schedules. They like to make noise. They demand that their needs come first. Many parents are willing to sacrifice their own fun at a wedding to include baby in the festivities.

Baby might not appreciate being included, get cranky at the wedding and require a day to recover from the disruption in schedule. Many parents don’t mind paying the price, especially if they only have one or two children.

The ideal situation to include baby in the wedding is to have a babysitter on hand when she wears out. At the last wedding I attended, the young families stayed at the venue, in rooms adjacent to the ceremony and reception. Armed with a nursery monitor, parents got ot have the best of both worlds, sort of, because they still had to put baby first.

One final thought: every child wants to grow up in an intact family. Sadly, by 12th grade, the parents of about half of all children will be divorced. 

When couples constantly sacrifice their needs and their relationship in order to focus on the children, the primary relationship of the family — the marriage — suffers. Marriages need constant replenishment. Marriages can survive short droughts by calling on reserves. But marriages that always take second place to the children will dry up.

Wedding are a wonderful day-long “date,” and a time for a couple to reconnect to what brough them together, remember their special day, and to reinforce what keeps them together.

Every “date” is an investment in a marriage that will pay off for years in family togetherness.