In homes with children in them, quite often breakables aren't near ledges and anything below 4 feet (or within jumping distance of a sofa) is kid friendly. In homes without tiny tots, it's a whole new ballgame. So go prepared to your holiday parties and events armed with these tips to keep the homeowner, yourself and your kids all sane!
1. Bring Toys Without Small Pieces: You don't have to lug an entire toy box to a friends house for a get together, but a few well thought out toys that have the tendency to keep them occupied are a smart move. Try choosing ones without small parts and pieces that will get lost in sofas or stolen by the homeowners pets.
2. Non-Messy Snacks: Aside from bringing something healthy for your child to snack on in case they aren't into the cuisine that's being served, make sure you bring them something they actually like to eat that won't end up leaving a crumb trail. Although a few crumbs aren't anything a vacuum can't handle, some folks might not take to kindly to cheerios being shoved in their couch cushions because they aren't really into them — but licking and sticking them is a whole new ball game!
3. Change Diapers Away From Party Guests: Even if the party host says it's alright and every member of the group in attendance has a child, do them all a favor and change diapers away from the main gathering area. Even if no one cares, making the space as pleasing as possible is a bonus and that means keeping smells down to a minimum.
4. Don't Over Stay: It's easy to let time slip past you when everyone is having a good time, but staying when little one's get cranky or frustrated, no matter how much fun you're having, is never a good idea. Keep your time spent at a party within their normal sleeping schedule. Don't be afraid to ask if you can come a little early to hang out instead if you know you won't have much more time than to eat and run. The hosts want to see you, that's why they invited you!
5. For Every Story You Tell About Your Child, Tell 3 Without Them: Everyone is guilty of it, once there's something new in your life you just can't stop talking about it. People want to hear the funny things about your kids (or dogs or new computer or pet parrot, whatever...) but in mixed company keep a 3 to 1 ratio of kid stories to non. Even if it seems like you're incapable of having any conversation that doesn't have the word Lego in it, do your best!
Do you have any tips to add the list? Share some of your own advice in the comments below!
(Image: Flickr member Ernst Vickne licensed for use by Creative Commons)