“It’s all fun and games until...” Because of the change in routine, excitement surrounding presents and the sheer number of people around, holiday parties can end abruptly with a breakdown. Enjoy your holiday party to the fullest by following these suggestions:

Assess the Appropriateness of Bringing Your Child
Sometimes parents forget their children’s age and maturity level and put them in developmentally inappropriate situations and then become highly frustrated when things go awry. Assess if this event will be successful for your family. It is better to find a babysitter or decline the invitation than to bring a five year old child to a sit down dinner at the boss’s house and expect him to be quiet, still and charming until 11pm.
Share the Plan
Explaining the party plan helps children feel more in control. Let them know: who will be there, what time dinner is, what the attire will be, what time it ends…etc will help them be in the know.
Remind them of the Expectations
Take a few minutes to discuss expectations regarding behavior. Although children know what the rules are, they will be with different people in a different place under uncommon circumstances. It is best to bring the pertinent information to the forefront of their minds.
Anticipate Problems
Think about some of the issues your children have in these situations. Common culprits are often: hunger, not wanting to share new toys, feeling tired and over excitement. Strategize with your children the best solutions. Later on, check in with them to see how the solution is working for them.

During the Event
Maintain Visual Contact
Even though parents need to have some fun themselves, it is best to stay close to the children. This does not mean that parents need to be constantly interacting with the children. However, keeping children under observation helps parents step in before a problem explodes.
Watch the Sugar Intake
Holiday parties are often full of candy dishes, dessert tables and soda. Children consume vast amounts of sugar and between the spike in wild energy and the rapid descent from the sugar high, issues often occur. Parents know their children’s limits. Help guide them through the sugar wonderland to a reasonable sugar intake and a fun time.
Confirm Children ate Healthy Food
When holiday parties are set up with buffet tables and no scheduled dinner hour, parents should make sure their children have eaten a semi-solid meal. Otherwise they may cause the evening to end early due to a hunger breakdown.
Keep a Pulse on the Tired Factor
Although parents may want to remain at the party well into the night, they should keep in mind the tired factor. Once kids get tired, they are less able to handle difficult situations and more prone to a breakdown. As Jerry Seinfeld said, “When you hit that high note, say goodnight and walk off.” It is better to leave a bit early than too late.

Evaluate the Evening
Decide what went well and what didn’t go as well as you had hoped. Jot a note as a reminder for the next holiday party.
Focus on the Positive
Take some time to tell children what they did well.

Happy Holidays!!!

Author's Bio: 

Sherrie Hardy, M.A., MIMC, author of Beyond Labels-Helping Your Child Succeed In School, founder of Hardy Brain Training, Hardy Learning Center and Hardy Academy programs that create success for struggling students and adults, creator of Rising Star Home Training System improving attention, learning and behavior and Successful Student Now on-line teleseries that teaches parents how to discover and correct the problems that inhibit their children’s success. http://SuccessfulStudentNow.com