It can seem a bit daunting to watch a parade with very young kids, especially if you are alone with multiple young children. It’s hard to know what to expect and how to be prepared.
My oldest attended his first parade when he was two and a half years old and I took the youngest when he was about three months old in the baby carrier with his big brother in an umbrella stroller. Since then we have gone to various parades and have made it a yearly tradition. I usually take the kids solo since most parades fall on a weekday morning and Dad is at work.
This year, we attended our first parade of the year together as a family and the boys had a blast. The four year old carried all the essentials in his backpack the entire time and managed to maneuver quickly through the crowds hand in hand with me. The two year old only wanted to be up in Dad’s arms and put up a fight if he was put down.
I do consider my family seasoned parade attendees with young kids in tow. As a little girl, I can recall attending parades when I was younger and enjoyed partaking in the magical experience.
Here are my tips when bringing young children to a parade:
Plan out where you are going to watch – from our experience close to the end of the parade route is ideal. It’s usually less crowded and if you arrive late like we typically do, it means the parade is just starting to arrive at the end of the route. Also, try to scope out grassy spots or spots close to an amenity you can take your kids to if they are starting to become unsettled.
Bring Snacks and Drinks – the time frame of most parades is equivalent to a short road trip or airplane ride (to and from #yvr). Kids get hungry and since my boys love to eat and I am consistently provisioning snacks all day long, I always make sure to pack some sort of bar, fruit, crackers or treat (bribe). I also make sure to bring our WOW cup filled to the brim with water or a couple of juice boxes. The last parade we attended, the kids snagged a handful of candy so the snacks we brought didn’t even get touched.
Dress for the Weather – make sure to dress accordingly. Little one’s get cold easily and the great thing about wearing layers is that they can be taken off. It’s not as fun watching a parade when you are cold and wet. Wear a raincoat and appropriate shoes if the weather is calling for rain. If it’s supposed to be a scorcher make sure to bring a hat, sunglasses and slather on the sunscreen before heading out or leaving the vehicle. Pack a compact sunscreen stick inside your pocket for a quick swipe of protection if need be.
Tip: I always dress my boys in a bright color when we go to a crowded event. Whether it’s a bright shirt, coat or pants with bright stripes it makes it easy for me to spot them if they happen to disappear from my side, especially my toddler.
Babywear, Bring a Compact Stroller or Wagon – if possible wear your little one(s) in a baby carrier. Babywearing is great because you can keep your little ones close, it keeps your hands free and it’s easier to navigate through the crowds. If they are really young, they may even have a nap while on you. If babywearing isn’t an option, bring a compact stroller or wagon. Some umbrella strollers are designed to fold down to small and compact size. They are also made light enough to carry around like a normal bag when not in use. These umbrella strollers are great to use for those little one’s who are unable to maneuver through a crowd for long stretches. Wagons are a bit bulkier but if you have multiple children it’s a great way to commute the kids and carry those extra items. Also makes a great seat to view those parades.
Parades are such a great family friendly event to partake in. The invitation is open to everyone in the community and beyond. It’s a place where you can celebrate and partake in sharing and giving love and support to one another in our diverse community.
What are some of your tips when attending a parade with young kids?
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