5 Tips for Taking Young Children to a Graduation
|Brief aside: This was my favorite art project ever!|
Everyone wants that shot of the new grad with his or her pretend diploma, of course, but after a couple of hours of being forced to sit still, a young kid is probably not going to be in the mood to please anyone. Coaxing a smile out of someone who feels she's been deprived of valuable putting-capes-on-the-cat time to drive out to a strange building and hear people clap for mispronunciations of people's names will be difficult.
Try to get as many pictures as you can when you first arrive. That way, the experience is still something new and exciting to a kid instead of the end of a long ordeal. You'll get a way better quality of picture that way.
Bring a Cuddle Friend
One thing I did anticipate for the graduation was separation anxiety. Not that my daughter has any trouble being away from either myself or my wife. She's more than comfortable in a variety of settings with either or neither of us.
A graduation is a little different, though. She could see my wife, but wasn't allowed to go and hug her or talk to her or ask her things. Parents who have held their heads in their hands while trying to poop behind a locked door while a toddler kicks and cries on the other side will recognize this phenomenon.
A two-foot-tall stuffed Pinkie Pie wasn't much of a substitute for her mother, but it did take the edge off some of the anxiety. In a pinch, they can also serve as makeshift pillows.
Do a Countdown
There is at least one thing that you can do with a kid that might keep her occupied. And it helps with reading comprehension as well if you're looking to boost that.
In your commencement program, find the name of the person you're there for. Circle it, and number the names backwards to the first. That way, you can continuously show your child where you are in the running, and make an anticipatory game out of it. This was something that worked very well for me and my daughter, who was so wound up by the time my wife's name was called that her shouts of genuine joy could be heard all across the auditorium.
Enough to make my wife smile and wave, which is what my daughter wanted in the first place. Good luck, graduates, and you, too, parents taking children to celebrate those graduates.