This past weekend we went to the Madison Christmas Parade. Holiday parades are a common event in most towns some time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. When we lived in Wisconsin, we loved the Baraboo Light Parade and the Holiday Stroll Parade in Whitefish Bay. My favorite holiday parade is the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. In person the balloons are overwhelming in size and the enormity of the event is awesome. I'm hoping to bring the kids to see it in person next year.
Parades can be a blast for little ones, but they can also be difficult. Here are some tips to ensuring that your whole family enjoys your next holiday parade:
*Dress Appropriately. For us this meant an umbrella in case it rained and our rain boots for puddles. When we lived in Wisconsin this meant multiple layers everywhere, especially toes and hands. Scarves and hats were a must and hand warmers were highly advisable. Check the weather and make sure your whole group is prepared for standing still in whatever weather is out there.
*Arrive early enough to have a seat at the front. Little ones are not going to be interested in a parade they can't see. If you are going to the Macy's parade or Chicago St Patty's parade, this requires a significant time commitment. For a smaller event, a half an hour is usually plenty of time.
*Bring some waiting activities. If you need to save spots, bring activities similar to those you would bring for waiting at a doctor's office or sitting on an airplane. However, if you can get your little ones moving during this time. When we went to the Madison parade last weekend we brought simple model planes to build and fly around. Our twins happily ran around flying and running after they planes. Simply singing some movement songs like the hokey pokey would work too. You might feel a little silly, but helping your kids get their wiggles out can be key to them sitting still during the parade.
*Clearly define your rules. Mine are that they need to stay out of the street at all times and that they need to sit during the parade. If you anticipate candy being thrown, have a plan for whether they are allowed to walk into the street to get it or not. Do they need an adult to go with them? Can they run out and come right back? You may have different rules. Whatever they are be clear and definitive about them.
*Have Fun. Little kids can get excited about just about everything. Get excited with them and I promise you'll have more fun.
What tips do you have for enjoying a parade? Where are your favorite parades?
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