Partying, Kids in Tow


   During the holiday season, you may be invited to many parties. Some will be adult-only and you will have to find a sitter to watch the kids while you’re out. But many hosts welcome children and encourage the little ones to come. Let’s face it, kids make most of us smile and can definitely liven up the fun.

   Before you arrive, decide with your partner whether you are going one-on-one or zone defense. In a one-on-one defense, one of you will be responsible for your children at a time. This duty can rotate as the evening progresses, but one of you will stay near the kid at all times. Agree on a set rotation schedule ahead of time. A one-on-one defense allows one of you to mingle freely and get into deeper conversations.

   You can also use a zone defense. In a zone, you are usually both in the room with the little ones. Upon arriving, make a quick inspection for any potential child hazards. If your hosts have kids, you are probably safe. In the zone defense, it is important to strategically locate yourself. You need to be able to cover all of the easy escape routes. You also might need to be able to defend low bookcases that contain breakable objects.

   Regardless of where the party is at, you need to pack a few essentials. A few small toys from home, a sippy cup and kid-friendly snacks are a must. A spare outfit may also be a wise move. If you know the host well, you might want to pack some pajamas.

   One way to avoid child dangers is to host the party yourself. You can ask guests to contribute to the food and drink offerings to save you additional work. Home field advantage also allows you to put the baby to sleep in her bed and party longer.

   At almost all parties, you will find a loving person willing to spoil your child. They will hold, hug, and feed babies, and may even want to change a diaper. These are usually women, but don’t have to be; they are generally people who have never had a baby around or people whose kids are older and long for the smell of baby powder. They can make your party easier for you, but make sure to watch them the first few times from a good zone position to make sure they are trustworthy.

   As for the baby scrooges, don’t judge them harshly. Scrooges are usually male, but don’t have to be. If your boss is a scrooge, you may want to hire a babysitter for the holiday office party. And many scrooges don’t mind kids as long as they are at least 10 feet away.

   One more thing: taking a little one gives you the perfect excuse to leave a party at the time of your choosing.

BOBBY MERCER is a teacher, writer, dad to a wonderful 3-year-old girl, and author of Quarterback Dad: A Play-by-Play Guide to Tackling Your New Baby. Contact him at