With holiday parties, dinners, and gatherings popping up all over the place this month, you may be looking at your enthusiastic little one and thinking There is NO way.
Today MrsManners gives us some great tips for turning our toddlers into better house guests.
It's getting close to your first holiday event of the season, and you are having a panic attack. You are worried that once you leave the house, your child will have forgotten every last bit of manners you have taught her.
Well, being toddlers, they reserve the right to do that, but there are a couple of tricks you can use to help before you go out to a friend or family member's house, especially those who don't have toddler-proof homes.
- Practice Before You Go: Practice, practice, practice. Make a game of it. Pretend like you are going out to a friend's house and go through the house and talk about all the things that you can and can't do when you go out. For example, if you are a parent who doesn't care if your child jumps on the couch (totally your right in your own home), you are going to need to explain that while it's okay to do it at home, it will NOT be okay to do it when you're a guest. Spend a couple of days practicing not jumping on the couch in your house.
- Share Toddler Watch: Hopefully your toddler knows not to touch certain things, but at the end of the day, the best way to make sure that your toddler won't make a mistake and break something at someone's house is to keep a really close eye on him. If you have a spouse or partner, then plan to take shifts. One hour on and one hour off so that you each have the chance to enjoy the party instead of one of you being the "sole" chaser.
- Make a Kid-Friendly Space: Chances are that you will be going to a party that has other children; if possible, suggest to the host/hostess that you set up a space for all the toddlers to play so they are all in one area. Then you can even take turns with multiple sets of parents watching the kids.
- Indoor Voices, Please: If you are attending a party with other toddlers, don't forget to practice using your indoor vs. outdoor voices before arriving. When they all get together, that is usually the first thing to go! There is a great book by Leslie Patricelli called Quiet Loud. If you don't have it, buy it and use this as a way to practice.
- Get a Babysitter: Finally, if you really are going somewhere that isn't toddler-proofed and you are aware that there are a lot of breakable items etc., you may want to consider hiring a babysitter for the night, if for no other reason than you don't want to be chasing your little one around all night long instead of enjoying the company of those around you. Not all functions are meant for toddlers, as much as we would like them to be.
The holiday season should be fun, not work, so remember to try and keep that spirit alive even when you are attending an event with your toddler. As we have talked about before, arm yourself with comfort toys and special foods to help you and your toddler get through the evening in a fun way!
What kind of house guest is your toddler? Any helpful tips for preparing toddlers for holiday outings?