Funerals and Worship Services
Many houses of worship have nurseries and kid-friendly classes (such as Sunday school) so parents may attend services without bringing babies and children along. If you have access to these options, take advantage of them. You'll be able to pay attention at the service, and your child will have the chance to play and interact with other kids.
At the age of 2 or 3, Rickenbacher says some kids are ready to graduate from the nursery into the pew: "Tell your kids that it is a special place—a quiet place. Make a big deal out of going to the 'big church,' and if they can't yet handle it, take them back to the nursery and try again another day."
If you don't have access to a nursery, sit near the back so you can make a quick getaway and have closer access to the restroom or baby changing area. Additionally, some places offer "cry rooms" equipped with speakers so parents can take fussy babies out of the worship area yet still hear the service.
As for wakes and funerals—the rules, or lack thereof, get tricky. "You have to consider the family traditions and the individual child," says Rickenbacher. "If the family is adamant about wanting even the youngest family members there, bring your child to the wake for a short time and skip the funeral."
Rickenbacher advises considering your child's age, personality, and wishes. Babies younger than two probably won't remember the experience, but older children may be haunted by it later. If your child doesn't want to go, don't force it.
Navigating the social world once children enter the picture is no easy task, but if you let common sense rule, you're halfway there. And fine tuning your social meter does have advantages—your good manners will show that you are a respectful, thoughtful person, and your ventures beyond your front door will be more enjoyable for the whole family.