We love our kiddos for forever and always but they’re not the best behaved! We’re used to them misbehaving at home or in the grocery store, but what can be done to help your babies behave in formal situations? There is nothing worse than the struggle and embarrassment of having misbehaving children at weddings, church, funerals, or other important ceremonies. So what can be done? Here are nine tips and tricks for getting your little ones to behave during “grown-up” events:
1. Set expectations early
If your little ones are old enough, talk to them about what they should be looking for during a formal event. They may not understand everything but letting them know why the event or ceremony is important will help them learn they need to be quiet. The more build-up the better, so your babes really anticipate being on their best behavior!
2. Don’t be afraid to step out
Babies fuss and toddlers get antsy, it’s a fact of life! Sometimes outbursts or tantrums are unavoidable and you need to take your babe away to keep the peace. People won’t think you’re being rude for stepping out — we’ve all been there! In fact, most attendees will appreciate your effort to keep the ceremony distraction-free by stepping out.
3. Grab a seat near the door
If you’re worried about outburst, you can claim a seat near the back so you can sneak easily in and out. Even if you don’t need to leave, having an easy exit strategy will relieve your anxieties so you can enjoy the event knowing the door is nearby.
4. Brush off angry bystanders
Not everyone around you has children, so not everyone understands what you’re dealing with. Just like they may think you’re being rude for “allowing” your children to be so fussy, you think they’re rude for being annoyed. In a perfect world, nobody would annoy anybody. But when you get those dirty looks from annoyed bystanders, smile back and BRUSH IT OFF! Don’t let their attitude ruin your day. Try to remind yourself that they too were once a fussy baby, or that they may someday experience having a child.
5. Dress your babe comfortably
One key step to avoiding an upset little one? Keep them as comfortable as possible. Avoid itchy collars or tight straps so your babe can move freely, without getting annoyed. It’s one less thing for you to worry about, and one less thing for your babe to cry about.
6. It’s OK to bring activities
Quiet games and activities are a great way to keep your kiddos distracted, especially during a long ceremony. Coloring books, soft activities, or puzzles keep things at a low volume, while you (and those around you) enjoy the event.
7. Keep your kiddos seated
It may be tempting to let your little ones run free, but try to avoid letting your kids run up and down the aisles. When they run free, you have to chase after them. Emphasize the importance of staying seated and then enforce it!
8. Ask for help
Mamas are superheroes, but even Wonder Woman only has two eyes and two hands. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your babes during an event, feel free to ask someone for help! Take a second to step out with your crying baby and ask the person sitting next to you to watch your other kids. Everything runs smoother when we all work together and you can pay the favor forward later on! Asking an attending family member or friend for their assistance beforehand can also help relieve your stress.
9. Follow through on rewards and consequences
Sitting still for a long time can be difficult, even for adults! So after your babe behaves well during an event, make sure to follow through on any promises you made beforehand. If you guaranteed a special treat or toy for good behavior, let them know you’re keeping up your end of the deal. The same goes for bad behavior! If your little one misbehaved constantly, make sure they know why they’re missing the reward. Consistently following up will ensure that your little ones understand what their good behavior will bring!
As difficult as it may be, sharing special events with our little ones is rewarding. Let us know if these tips help you or if you have any advice to help other mamas. We’ll keep updating this post with your tips and tricks!