Usually, the very young ones are much easier to please with candies and other munchies. At times, all they do is sleep, so comfy couches at the lounge area adorned with baby-friendly toys would be enough. You can also arrange a separate quiet room where the babies can sleep and recharge. Think about the babies’ regular siesta hours.
Babies want to be cuddled, and you will never run out of volunteers for the task other than their ever-reliable nannies.
Tots and pre-schoolers
Children ages 2 to 6 years old can be very demanding. If feasible, ask your event organizer to set up a crèche or marquee with on-call nannies. Fill the areas with activities that will keep them occupied throughout the wedding. The organizers may either put a table with loads of activities or hand each tot an activity pack. The pack may include finger puppets, bubbles, mini buckets of Play Doh, sticker books and stickers, sketchbooks or, coloring booklets with colored pencils or crayons.
Alternatively, the organizer can set up an impromptu movie theater where kids can watch all-time favorites. Disney movies are always a hit. Serve flavored popcorns or mini burgers and juice while the kids are watching.
To keep them satiated, fill the area with munchies. Examples are fruit platters, cheese platters, French fries, chicken fingers, candies, M&Ms, chocolates, lollipops, peanut butter cups, jelly beans, gummy bears, etc. This can double up as a favor table wherein each tot is handed a bag that he or she can fill with his or her favorites. Ask the parents first for any food allergies. Kids should enjoy their meal, too.
Finally, distribute fun favors that the kids will love taking home. Yes, favors need not be all edible. Plush toys, plastic cars, princess crowns are some of the options. If your wedding is around Christmas, you may consider hiring a Santa Clause who will distribute the favors among the kiddos.
Tweens need more challenging activities. Just the same though, you need to have a separate area for them. Mini puzzles, mazes, and trivia boxes are more appropriate for this group. Retro toys like yo-yo’s, kaleidoscopes, and spinning tops are also acceptable. Other options are Xbox, Playstation, Wii, or other computer games or all-time favorite family games like giant Jenga, Scrabble, and even Lego. If the venue allows, you may also organize a treasure hunt.
Don’t forget DIY activities such as cupcake decorating especially for the girls and painting for the boys. If you want them to be creative without feeling guilty about it, you may ask the caterer to cover the kids’ tables with craft cloth or butcher paper. Have the kids draw anything they want on the tablecloth. Watching age-appropriate DVDs can be another option since both boys and girls enjoy them.
Optionally, you may hire entertainers such as clowns, magicians, experienced conjurers, or balloon artists. Grade-schoolers mostly enjoy performers particularly those who interact directly with them. Just make sure that the entertainers you hire have enough activities to occupy the youngsters.
Now what will you do if you have a fair mix of babies, tots, and tweens?
Proper venue planning is the answer. It would be a good idea to separate them in groups according to their ages. Mixing up tweens with babies is not a good idea. Also, as much as possible, don’t let older siblings look after the youngest ones. This is a recipe for disaster. Instead, have each ‘station’ supervised by a qualified adult.
For the older ones, you can give each of them a responsibility other than being a part of the entourage. For example, they can pass out reception programs or wedding favors. Wedding is an important occasion, and asking for their help makes them feel respected and appreciated.
Talk to your caterer as well. Typically, the foods served to the children are mini versions of the foods served to the adults. If possible, arrange a separate kid-friendly menu. Ask parents guests beforehand about what their kids would love to eat.
If there will be kids at the ceremony, stock some kid-friendly snacks. You may feel safe knowing that parents can look after them. However, kids have shorter life spans than we do. So, have something that can veer them away from throwing tantrums. Giving them snacks they want is an effective way of keeping outbursts at bay.
Speaking of the parents, you might as well help them in planning. Confirm in your invitation if they can or cannot bring their brood with them. Briefly and politely explain why you would prefer an adults-only wedding. If kids are allowed, let the parents know about the itinerary beforehand. In this way, planning naptimes, feedings, and even potty breaks will be a breeze.
The secret to making your wedding enjoyable for the kids is to plan ahead. Think about them, their likes and dislikes. Even if you don’t have firsthand experience at parenting, you probably have ideas on what ticks among different age groups. Solicit advices and opinions from parents if this is such a daunting task for you.
While at it, bear in mind that all you can do is plan. Even the nicest and cutest little girl yells out funny phrases now and again. Be aware of the risks – as well as the inevitables – involved. Kids will be kids. When boredom kicks in, the worst can happen. Don’t sweat the small stuff, or it will only ruin your mood on your big day. You don’t want this to happen
Sources: BridalMusings.com | WeddingIdeasMag.com
Image credit: WeddingsbytheAddison.com | DecoratetheTable.com | TableDecoratingIdeas.org | Yummo.ca