Whenever we plan a family day out my cynical mind inevitably turns to all of the things that could go wrong.
It’s not that I don’t want to go out. I would go crazy if I was stuck in the house all day every day. It’s good to catch up with my mum friends and have a good rant about whatever’s going on in our lives. It’s also lovely to have some family time with all four of us doing something a bit different.
So when we got tickets to see Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom Live on stage, of course we were excited. But it was tinged by trepidation. Me and my husband agreed between us that we would not worry if the whole thing went wrong and we had to leave early.
Those with no children will not understand what could go wrong. It’s a child’s show, for children? It’s only the theatre in the afternoon, what’s the big deal.
The way I see it, these are the key things that could have gone wrong:
- Toddler/baby gets scared of the crowd/dark room/loud noises and has a meltdown.
- Toddler/baby does an epic s**t that covers their clothes and mine and we all have to leave in shame at the smell.
- Baby vomits with no warning on child sat in front of her.
- Toddler says she’s hungry and rejects all snacks we have with us.
- Baby gets overtired and will not be rocked to sleep so has an epic meltdown.
Despite my reservations we headed for the theatre. I am pleased to report none of the above occurred. We had a brilliant time and my toddler loved the show.
Even our baby, who decided to reject her post-lunch nap before we left for the show, was happy and interested in what was going on. That is until about 15 minutes into the show when she nodded off on my husband’s lap. She stayed like that for a good 20 minutes. Winning!
Our toddler bounced around on her seat in complete delight at the whole experience, so it was well worth it.
In case you’re planning a similar trip with a touch of anxiety, here are some tips for enjoying the theatre with a toddler and baby:
- Know the venue. We were going to walk to the theatre with our double buggy but then realised maybe there was nowhere to leave it once we arrived. In the end we drove, even though it’s not far. Better than arriving and discovering we have to leave an essential (and expensive!) piece of kit in the rain outside. It’s helpful to know about parking, how far you will have to walk, what food and drink is available and baby changing facilities.
- Pack light but tactically. I figured the show was enough to keep my toddler entertained but I brought some toys for my baby to chew on and flap about. I packed a few snacks, drinks and changes of clothes for both. But I made sure it all fit in one bag. It’s hard enough toting two kids around between you, let alone multiple bags on top of that.
- Make sure baby is as happy as possible. Try to get that nap in before you leave for the theatre. We didn’t manage it, but we got lucky as she nodded off quite calmly on my husband’s lap. She doesn’t always do this.
- Prepare your toddler for something new. Surprises are nice but some children find new experiences a bit overwhelming, particularly at a young age. Try to let them know in advance what you’re going to be doing and what to expect. Our daughter was very excited!
Do you have any tips for attending the theatre with little ones? Do you get anxious about trying new places or things with a young family? I would love to hear your thoughts.