Grandma’s wedding to her fourth husband may be the event-of-the-year in your eyes; however, your child may not feel the same. Kids, especially teens and pre-teens, often feel left out during these major family celebrations. From black-tie weddings to gender reveal baby showers, each family event is special. To involve your pre-teen or teen in the big celebration can make the event exciting for everyone involved. Use these tips to make the next family get-together one for the books.
Everyone Has a Job
Make children feel more included by offering them an important job. For example, the bride and groom may ask your child to be part of the wedding party. If your child accepts the job of a ring bearer, flower girl, junior bridesmaid, usher or other special role, discuss their job in detail, and practice, practice, practice. Even if it’s not a big role, every role is equally important. Even small jobs, such as carrying flowers into the church or calling to make sure the groom has the ring, can make your child feel more involved.
If you are hosting a family celebration yourself, food will be a major priority. If your child is like many kids, they may give you attitude about the “grown-up” menu. Avoid this unnecessary argument by making a menu that is both child- and adult-friendly. With the help of your child, create a fix-it-yourself menu that allows everyone to assemble their dishes themselves. Whether it’s a casual pizza bar or delicious spread of delicacies, a custom menu of various foods and deserts are sure to please even the pickiest of eaters.
Once the menu is down pat, involve your pre-teens or teens in the food preparation. There is a plethora of prep work kids can do with minimal help from mom and dad, such as toss a giant salad, spread butter on dinner rolls or decorate cookies with sprinkles. Also, encourage your helper to clean up by putting dirty dishes in the dishwasher, emptying containers into the garbage and wiping down the countertops.
Respect & Etiquette
While your goal is to involve your child in family celebrations, do so in a meaningful way by teaching respect and etiquette. These skills will come in handy when it’s time to socialize. For example, have your child greet guests at the door to make him feel important, and to give him the opportunity to meet family members on a more personal level. Your child may enjoy being the one to give Aunt Sue her birthday gift or bring in his younger brother’s new bicycle. Encourage these thoughtful tasks to make your child feel included in the celebration.