Summer is synonymous with weddings. Chances are, your family has gotten at least one invite already. Before you head out to enjoy the festivities, you need to take a moment to consider the event from your kids’ point of view.

Here are eight ways to prep your kids for the big day.

1. Make Sure Your Kids Are Invited

Don’t assume your kids are invited to the wedding. Showing up with your youngsters in tow when the bride envisioned an adult-only affair would be a difficult social graft to overcome.

Generally, if the kids’ names aren’t on the invitation, they probably weren’t included in the head count. Ms. Manners would say those kids under the age of 18 who are welcome at the wedding would be listed on the inner envelope. Kids over 18 would receive their own invitation (even if they are still living at home). However, even if the bride has planned a kid-free zone, there is usually an exception for newborns.

If you’re not sure about who is invited, ask the bride.

2. Adjust Your Schedule

Is your youngster’s normal naptime smack dab in the middle of the ceremony? Tired, cranky kids aren’t usually compatible with formal, once-in-a-lifetime events.

Any time you venture out of the house, you have to make alterations to your kids’ schedules. However, it is especially important to be attentive to timing on wedding day.

Ensuring your child has the maximum amount of rest time is ideal. Wake your kids up early on wedding day, spend a few extra hours running around outside, then put them down for an early nap. Or, see if you can arrange for some extra rest time during the day so the youngsters can stay up later at night.

3. Plan Quiet Activities

There is a lot of “sit and behave” time before the kids finally arrive at the “shake it on the dancefloor” hour. Kids shouldn’t be expected to bear that torture angelically.

Pack lots of quiet activities for your kids. Bring the entertainment to both the ceremony and reception (long-winded toasts aren’t kid-friendly).

Some ideas include:

  • Crayons (not markers that could damage formal attire) and coloring books
  • Card games
  • Books
  • Small toys (cars, dolls, plastic animals)
  • Tablets with headphones

4. Go to the Restroom

Wait until the very last second, and then make a family trip to the restrooms. Kids sometimes use the “I need to go to the bathroom” excuse to get out of unenjoyable situations. If you know they’ve just gone, you can nix the idea without a fear of accidents.

Be sure to make a detour by the restrooms again before the reception.

5. Pick a Good Seat

Most wedding guests choose a seat that allows a good view of the bride and wedding party. Parents might want to choose one close to the escape route.

Sit in the back or on the aisle. Know where the closest exits are in case things get noisy. Also note where the videographer is. You don’t want to cut in front of him while making your exit.

At the reception, see if you can park it at a table that will be served early on. If you aren’t worried about feeding the kids right away, find a table with a little space around it (maybe in a corner). Let the kids move around a bit before the meal starts.

6. Plan Movement Activities

It is crucial to use the brief window of time between the ceremony and reception to your advantage. Your kids have just spent a big chunk of time sitting quietly and they’re expected to do it again.

Swing by a park (if you don’t mind the kids playing in their fancy clothes). Kick a soccer ball in the parking lot. Play Simon Says. Sing "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes." Our family’s favorite emergency entertainment is a balloon. I keep several in my purse at all times. Blow one up and let the kids chase it around.

7. Bring Snacks

Few of us parents leave the house without some type of goodie on hand. On wedding day, this tip is especially important. Bring a non-crumbly, non-sticky, non-messy snack to the wedding. Plying your kids with food could help keep them quiet.

If the “fancy” food at the reception isn’t appetizing to your youngster, you’ll need to have a backup plan.

8. Leave Before the Meltdown Starts

Keep an eye on your kids. Gauge their tiredness and boredom. Then, get them out of there before they explode.

The bride and groom will understand your need for an early exit and will be grateful you enjoyed their special day with them. In fact, leaving a few hours before the rest of the crew might not even be noticed.

Weddings are a joyous occasion, but only if all the guests are feeling the love. Taking a few minutes to prepare your kids ensures they don’t steal the limelight for all the wrong reasons.