5 Parent Tips for First Communion

First Holy Communion is a big event. It is a joyful and wonderful time. Your son or daughter will likely be excited, anxious and perhaps even nervous. He or she will take their lead from you. Over the years I have learned that it is impossible to calm a child by frantically giving orders to him or her. The spotlight focus of the event may bring out the best attributes of your child...or not. Either way, you can make this a special day for him or her and your family.

Tip # 1 - Relax

This is not a reality television show. Yes, this is a big event, a sacred event. After all your son or daughter is going to receive Jesus in the Eucharist for the very first time. It is an exciting time, it is holy moment, and it does not need to be a stressful time. Remember to relax and enjoy your child’s special day. There may be snags, things may not be absolutely perfect. You have children and are used to that by now. It's okay if there are imperfections, just take a deep breath, Jesus is perfect enough to cover any flaws in the plan for the day.

Tip #2  - Plan ahead

  • Save the date and get the date out to family and friends you would like to attend.
  • Four weeks or more before
    • If you have a girl, get her Communion dress and veil. If ordered from the store or online, make sure you try them on when they arrive. This provides enough lead time to fix any errors or issues.
      • Have your daughter try on the dress with the underclothes she will be wearing. Although the dresses are lined some of the bodices may be itch for your daughter. You may want to consider having a slip for her.
    • If a boy, get his outfit (suit and/or tie). Keep in mind that the dress clothes that fit at Christmas may not fit by May. Again, if ordered, try the outfit on and make sure it is good to go.
  • Three weeks ahead
    • Send invitations or talk to family members and let them know the details of the day including the address of the church and any after church party or celebration details.
  • One to Two weeks in advance
    • If you have a girl, pick up white or colored bobby pins that match her hair color to secure the veil
    • Order or plan the cake and other related food
    • Finalize details for the party including decorations and favors.
  • Two or three days ahead
    • Prepare the dress, veil and/or suit and tie (See Tip #3)
    • Have a "dress" rehearsal. Have your son or daughter put on their entire outfit from top to bottom. This helps catch missing socks or shoes or other wardrobe issues.
  • The day before
    • Set out outfits for your other children so you don’t have to think about it that morning. For us it’s all about finding socks.
    • Either charge the camera batteries or make sure you have fresh batteries.
    • Wrap the gifts
    • If you have a girl and plan to curl her hair, have her take her bath or shower the night before.

Tip #3 - Prepare the Veil and Dress, or for boys the suit and tie.

This should be done a day or two prior to the event to avoid last minute surprises and panicked runs to the store. Remember, we are trying to be relaxed. There are enough special details related to preparing the First Communion veil, dress and suit it has its own [article].

Tip #4 - Prepare for the Unexpected

  • Consider having a small bottle of white shoe polish with the sponge tip in case your daughter scuffs her shoes
  • If she is planning on wearing white tights, consider buying two pairs in case she snags hers the morning of First Communion.
  • Bring a sewing kit in your purse: white thread, needle, small scissors & a couple of safety pins just in case.  (get this ready 2-3 days before the day of First Communion) 
  • Ask if the teacher, DRE or another mom in the group to have a glue gun on hand; just in case a veil has a malfunction.
  • Check the weather. If any rain is in the forecast, have your umbrellas near the door.  For us it’s all about finding a working umbrella!

Tip #5 - Thank God

For some it will be "thank God it is over", but we hope it will be thanks given to God for your special child. Gratitude to God for the gift of Jesus present to us in Holy Communion, and for family friends and faith, strong foundations for life.