New Year’s Eve is a tricky holiday for parents.
It’s hard to find childcare that allows you freedom to attend a swanky party. And even if you have a reliable babysitter, it’s likely you’ll be paying a premium for her services. Taking your child to an adult party may be an option, depending on the circumstances of the gathering. Following the proper etiquette will ensure you and your host a drama-free night with the kids in tow.
The rules on taking your child to a holiday party can seem murky in some instances, especially if it’s a family member’s or even a best friend’s fete. In order to clarify some of the holiday party madness, SheKnows asked for advice from acclaimed etiquette author and expert Jodi R.R. Smith of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting. Her advice follows:
Read the invitation
Make sure you child is invited and do not presume it includes your adorable toddler even if it’s your best friend’s party. If the invitation includes “and family” that is a green light to bring your kids.
Pick up the phone
“Pick up the phone and call to get a lay of land,” Smith says. Find out details like how many other people will be attending, what food will be served, where will kids be during the party, will there be a supervisor on hand and, finally, is the house child-friendly. A necessary part of this research is understanding what will be available for your child at the party and what you need to bring — extra diapers, special foods, etc.
“I encourage parents to be very thoughtful about the situation they’re putting their child in,” Smith says. “As a parent it’s your job to be responsible for your child; it isn’t the host’s job.”
Parents should think about the noise level at the party. If it’s a small, quiet cocktail party, you should opt to leave your rowdy brood at home for the night. On the flip side, if you have a newborn, and know there will be smokers in the house, leave the baby at home.
Don’t go to the party hungry
Feed your child ahead of time and take extra food, but be conscious of others with allergies who might be in attendance. No nuts!
Be realistic about the length which you might stay
While you may enjoy staying for the duration of a three-hour cocktail party, your child might not fancy the idea. Tell host in advance that you could be leaving early, depending on your child’s mood.
“My rule for play dates and parties is leave before the blood and tears,” Smith says. “If you see your child is about to have a meltdown, get out.”
Check up on your kids often
Find out if the kids are happy and well. If they break anything, Smith says fess up right away and always offer to replace the damage.