Handling public events like a pro (with a toddler in tow!)

Taking Baby to a big event as an infant was probably no sweat. Babies can sleep through most noise, often aren’t on a set schedule, and you don’t have to worry about them bolting off into the crowd the moment you look away. 

Events with a toddler are a different ballgame. If Baby is your only child, it’s a bit easier to work big events in your favor, as you can determine whether the timing works with his schedule. However, if Baby has older siblings, he may find themselves along for the ride – even if the event starts early, or late, or falls right smack in the middle of naptime.  

Big events have the potential to be difficult, but that doesn’t mean they have to be stressful. Whether it’s a sporting event, carnival, or musical show, there are many ways to keep Baby happy while your whole family enjoys the day.

  • Time it right: If possible, try to schedule your outing at a time when Baby will be rested, which will reduce the risk of the dreaded public meltdown. That’s not always possible, though, in which case you’ll have to simply mind the timing. Try to stick to his regular routine as much as possible, providing food and snacks at the normal time, and bringing comfort items like a blanket or stuffed animal to encourage a nap in the stroller.
  • Bring distractions: Ideally, you’ll be able to engage Baby in the event enough that he is interested and happy to be there. If you’re heading to a game or a show, try to select seating where Baby will be able to see the action, which should help to better keep his attention. Chances are, though, that he will lose interest at some point, so it’s a good idea to bring along a few distractions. Pack some favorite toys and books to have on-hand in case Baby gets fussy.
  • Keep calm: Despite your best timing and distracting efforts, it’s probable that at some point Baby will, in fact, throw a temper tantrum at a public event. When this does occur, try to keep your cool as best as possible. This is, of course, easier said than done, but remember that almost everybody has had a similar experience with a screaming, struggling toddler, and nobody is blaming you.
  • Safety first: Above all, the main goal is to keep Baby safe. If the event you’re attending will be in a big crowd, be sure to keep him contained in either a carrier or a stroller. When going to an outdoor event, plan accordingly in terms of clothing, bringing along layers to keep him comfortable. Don’t forget sunscreen and a hat if you’ll be outdoors on a bright, sunny day, water to help keep hydrated and beat the heat in summer, and some DEET-free bug spray if you’re planning to be outside at dusk.
Public events with a toddler can be intimidating, as their moods are often unpredictable, and you may worry a meltdown will ruin everyone’s time. The truth is that experience is the greatest teacher – both for you and for Baby. The more often you make outings a part of the regular routine, the more accustomed you’ll both get to venturing out, so if you can, put your worries aside and enjoy something new, and remember that with every outing, you’ll both only get better at it!
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