5 Tips for Taking Young Children to a Graduation

Categories: Parenting

Annie Bulloch
This past weekend my wife graduated from nursing school, an accomplishment that is massive to someone like me whose employable skills involve overanalyzing Doctor Who and ranking video game farts. I couldn't be more proud of her, and of course I wanted to celebrate her victory over academia by attending her graduation ceremony.

Now, I have a four-year-old daughter, and like all four-year-olds, she lives in pathological fear that someone somewhere might be getting more attention than her. Still, it was important to my wife that she be present at both ceremonies. (Nurses have a special pinning ceremony in addition to a regular graduation.) That means that I had to basically corral the girl-child for around five hours all told through something even grown people feel gets pretty boring.

I did not do a very good job at this. If you've got a graduation coming up, here's a few pieces of advice I have for you.

Bring Food
Unless you have some sort of metabolism or blood-sugar problem, adults just don't think about food all that much. You eat when you eat, and yeah, if it's a long time between meals, that sucks, but if you're stuck in an auditorium listening to someone read an academic phone book and there's no grub to be had, you shrug your shoulders and deal.

Kids don't think that way. If there's no food to be had, they honestly believe that conjuring it requires merely asking louder. Do yourself a favor and pack a sandwich bag full of goldfish crackers, grapes, trail mix or whatever you happen to have handy that won't smell or require cleanup. Trust me, no parent has ever regretted packing a snack...unless they forget about it in a bag and find out months later it's acquired sentience and malevolence, but that's always happening when you're a parent.

Bring Something Electronic With Headphones
Look, graduation is a solemn and important institution, but let's not confuse it with church or something. All anyone is here for really is to cheer when the people you love get their names read aloud and they walk across the stage. Even if you enjoy the speeches that get made, you're only really invested in a fraction of the running time.

Feel free to let your kid occupy him or herself with a LeapPad or 3DS or something with headphones on until the moment comes around. We streamed Netflix episodes of Powerpuff Girls to my iPhone until whispered arguments over volume rendered the whole thing moot. Hence, the headphones.

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Hanabi-chan topcommenter

Congratulations to the missus!

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