Taking A Toddler To Graduation 6 Comments


Daf graduated yesterday!

It was a really lovely day. His parents came to watch the ceremony, we took lots of pictures and celebrated and went out for a meal afterwards, and it was lovely to celebrate Daf’s achievements.

However, like many aspects of life with a toddler, it didn’t quite go to plan. See, the plan was as follows –

Plan For A Stress-Free Graduation With A Toddler

  1. The non-graduating parent and The Toddler watch the ceremony on a live-link screen in a separate hall, where it doesn’t matter too much if The Toddler makes noise.
  2. The Toddler sits quietly through the whole ceremony, pausing occasionally to eat a snack.
  3. The Toddler is perfectly happy after the ceremony and excited to see the graduating parent.
  4. The non-graduating parent wears appropriate toddler-handling attire.


What Actually Happened…

I wore heels. That was my first mistake.

The rest of what happened wasn’t really anyone’s fault, per se. We went into the separate hall, the live-link was set up, the marshals were quite happy for SB to make noise, but she sat beautifully while we waited. And waited. And waited. And while we were waiting, she ate all of her snacks. (Okay, that was my mistake too).

The live link wasn’t working. A laptop had decided to shut itself down and run some updates, so we wouldn’t be able to watch on the big screen. Thanks to the lovely marshals at the ceremony, they let us sneak into the back of the main hall to watch the graduation in person, which was great. We watched the processional, listening to the lovely harp music (and in fairness, it was very lovely harp music). All was well until the silence as the processional reached the stage and took their seats, and we all waited to be told to take our seats too. The harp finished playing.

A not-so-tiny voice cut through the silence.


Accompanied by applause. As I say, it was lovely harp music, and I’m proud that we’ve raised SB to appreciate good music, but I’m not sure rapturous toddler applause was quite what they were going for in the middle of such a ceremonial moment.

Everyone laughed, and Daf says it broke the tension among the nervous graduands, but I was very aware of everyone turning around to see the applauding toddler at the back of the room, so I bundled her out with an apology to the marshalls (who were lovely, and thought it was hilarious). They said we could go up to the balcony, where it was a little further away and didn’t matter so much if we were noisy.

Being up on the balcony was great. We got to see Daf cross the stage and graduate, and then as SB started to get restless, I let her play with the camera on my phone. The gallery is now full of “candid” shots of me from awkward angles and toddler fingers obscuring the lens, but it kept her quiet. Until a graduate crossed the stage with his guide dog and she started yelling “SAY CHEESE, GOGGY! SAY CHEESE!”. Thankfully this was mostly drowned out by the applause all around us, but I was starting to wonder how much longer SB’s patience would hold out.

When the harp music started up once more, I decided I wasn’t going to hang around to find out. We went out into the foyer and waited for the graduates to emerge.

After that, it was fairly smooth sailing. She posed nicely for pictures, enjoyed racing around in between graduates with her Taid chasing along after her, and enjoyed people making a fuss of her as I wearily admitted that yes, my toddler was responsible for the cheering everyone heard. And yes, everyone heard.

So, my tips for taking a toddler to a graduation ceremony.

  1. Pray that the video link doesn’t cut out.
  2. Don’t raise your child to be so appreciative of good harp music.
  4. Find some nice, quiet games on your phone/tablet for them to play, so that they don’t try and make a guide dog pose for a picture at the top of their voice.
  6. Most important of all, however, is – take them. Let them go to the graduation; let them see as much as they can without disturbing others. I’m so happy that we took SB – not only are the pictures gorgeous; it’s a great experience and memory for her, and a chance for her to see her dad’s achievements over the last three years. Fostering a love of education and lifelong learning starts early!

We are so proud of Daf for graduating!

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