Holiday Parties with Kids
The holiday season is upon us and that means parties, gatherings and lots of big family meals. While celebrating the season is lots of fun it can cause stress if you are attending all of the festivities with children. It was so easy when it was just you or you and your partner wasn’t it? No naptimes to worry about, no hunger meltdowns or bedtime tears. Okay maybe there was the occasional hunger meltdown, but in my defense I skipped lunch!
There are ways that you can help minimize the stress and ensure everyone enjoys the fun! With a little bit of planning and a lot of awareness of your child and his or her triggers you can avoid the holiday hoopla that can ruin your party.
1. Time your arrival time around naptime. This may mean that you show up a little late but better late with a happy baby than on time with a cranky one. We were very lucky that both our kids were great car sleepers so we used to time our drive to the party to coincide with naptime. The kids slept peacefully while we took the long way to the host house and Mr. C. and I chatted on the way. Chances are it will be easier for your baby to nap before they hit the chaos of the fiesta so if you are able to make that happen it might make the day a little easier for you.
2. We have all experienced hunger meltdowns, kids are no exception. They don’t understand that all they need to cure their grumpies is something in their tummy. Ask your party host what time dinner will be served. If mealtime is much later than what your child is used to, bring snacks or even their dinner, if needed, and feed them at a time that suits them. Make sure you bring your own snacks just in case food isn’t ready when your little one’s tummy needs to be filled. If it’s important to you that the children sit with you at the dinner table during the meal give them a snack or dessert that they can nosh on while the rest of the table enjoys the main meal. If dinner is scheduled for the exact time when your baby should be asleep do not feel guilty about skipping out a little early.
3. What seems like a fun gathering for adults, filled with music and laughter, can be overwhelming for little ones, especially if your child isn’t used to large gatherings. Perhaps the noise is starting to cause a little bit of hyper behaviour in your child or maybe your baby is fussy after being passed around to multiple family members who just want a cuddle. If you notice that the crowd is starting to get to your child, ask the party host if there is a quiet place you can take them for a little while. Finding a quiet place away from the crowd is probably all your little one needs to gather themselves and to rejoin the party. Don’t feel bad if your child just needs to spend some time with their parents. Without listening to those cues and taking that time you may be setting your child up for a major meltdown.
4. Respect bedtime. Some children are not bothered at all if they go to bed a little later than they are used to. Then there are mine…Mr. T. once ran screaming in circles, naked, because he was overtired. Tiredness will cause children to do crazy things! Don’t let them get to that point. Watch their cues, if you start to notice that they are getting sleepy get them to bed. Children are not adults, it’s not easy for them to stay up and act accordingly when they are exhausted. Respect that. The time will come when they will be able to join the festivities into the later hours. Make sure you leave the party at a decent time, BEFORE they hit that wall. Both your child and the party guests will thank you!
During the holidays your main priority remains your child and their well-being. This means if you need to arrive late, leave early or make any other adjustments you can’t feel guilty. If your child is tired, hungry or overstimulated neither of you are going to enjoy yourselves.
The holidays are supposed to be fun. Make it fun! There are simple things you can do to make it a little easier on the youngest members of your family and if you plan accordingly everyone should have themselves a Merry Little Christmas.