Do these kids ever stop?
It’s the question that crosses everyone’s minds when a gravy train of 5 year olds barrels past your heels and completes its third lap around the cake table, to the horror of the bride’s mother (and the amusement of the groomsmen).
If you’ve decided (whether by choice, indifference or when threatened with a pointy stick) that children will be invited to your wedding, another question you’re likely to ask is:
How do I entertain these whirlwinds of awesomeness/terror/joy/crazy? (Delete as appropriate)
Keeping them occupied is a near Herculean task, but someone’s got to do it.
So if giving a colouring book to a 10 year old is not an option (especially if you want to avoid the *roll eye emoji* when they are waaaay too into Candy Crush on their phone to even notice your misguided attempt at intergenerational chat), that pretty much means you’ll have to talk to them at some point between the ceremony and the dessert course.
If you’re a person who spends approximately 0.0000059% of their time around children, how do you talk to them without sounding like a complete moron?
Don’t forget: these are children you’ve not seen in 3 years (or ones you’ve never even met) and at some weddings it can be difficult to sustain a conversation with some adults beyond “sooooo, how do you know the bride and groom?”. Trust me, this question is never a good icebreaker.
But you also need to keep in mind that this is what weddings are all about – renewing bonds with friends and family in the forge of ‘New York, New York’ and ‘Agadoo’. So, if you want to get on the level with kids at your (or any) wedding, here are three obvious things that can go wrong and how you can avoid them without breaking a sweat.
1. Talking to them like they’re children
When you’re a child, the last thing you think of yourself as is childish. You might spend your days sifting through client case files, drafting up architectural concept designs or running your own small business, but just because you’re not a rocket scientist* doesn’t mean you’re not the smartest person in the room (in fact you’re probably the smartest person in most rooms!)
*Why does everyone always use this analogy? Surely it can’t be that hard if this kitty can do it!
The same applies to children.
They’re not just half-baked adults waiting for that Eureka moment when everything just makes sense (like that time you found out you’ve been peeling bananas wrong this whole time). They’re just slightly smaller versions of you, with open minds and open hearts, trying to figure this world out.
Talk to them like an adult, don’t patronise them.
2. Asking the wrong questions
Don’t ask things like “who’s your favourite superhero”, “what do you like to do?” or “what did you do at school today?”
When was the last time you:
a) asked an adult these question; and,
b) answered with anything more than a painfully vague answer.
Surface level questions won’t go down well.
They’re boring. They’re lazy. They always seem like a trap, specially designed to catch you halfway up the kitchen counter with your hand in the cookie jar.
Try shaking their hand (kids love this) and ask them about something in the news. Or better yet, don’t ask them a question at all. Turn the situation on it’s head and start guessing things about them.
“Year 4 Primary School.”
“2 brothers and 1 dog.”
“likes to hide her mum’s car keys whenever she’s leaving for work”
It’s amazing how quickly they’ll correct you!
3. Taking yourself too seriously
When you’re spending time with a toddler it can be curiously like hanging out with a drunk friend who wants to dash from bar to bar, veering between me, me, me and spontaneous bouts of aggressive affection. You know how to deal with this one – grab yourself a drink, let out your inner berk and get on that train to crazytown.
Do the limbo with them, sing karaoke, copy their dance moves, pull silly faces in the photo booth, take part in their cake smushing competition and slide on your knees across the dance floor. As long as you know how bonkers you look, own it. Knee burns and all.