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Taking Children To Holiday Parties? Make Magic, Not Meltdowns

National Louis University Professor Offer Tips to Help Parents, Hosts

 

 

Seeing babies, toddlers and children at holiday gatherings and family parties can be delightful—until they start crying or acting out, which can deflate holiday cheer quicker than the Grinch.

With a little planning and resourcefulness, National Louis University faculty Jennifer Klapatch Totsch, Ph.D., says you can help the little ones, as well as the grandparents and uncles, enjoy the party and make wonderful memories.

First, consider that if your children are small and the party starts so late in the day that it would throw off their sleep schedules, it may be best to skip it. Totsch suggested being open with hosts, with a remark such as “We’d love to see you, but at this time of day, it would just be miserable for the child.”

If you decide to go, prep your kids on what they can expect at the party, such as other kids, aunts and uncles, people they may not know, food, music, talking and twinkling lights. Some children, including those on the autism spectrum, are more sensitive to noise, lights, touching and new foods or food smells.

Try to arrive a little early at parties if you’re a guest, so that you can find your children a quiet place to play in a low-traffic area. Put their toys there and tell them they can go there to color or chill out if the party overwhelms them, Totsch suggested. If you’re the host, children can retreat to their rooms if they want to chill out.

“’It’s okay to say ‘my child needs a nap now,’” Totsch said.

As guests arrive, she offers a non-confrontational way to remind adults to respect children’s boundaries. Tell your children, loudly and within earshot of adults, “Remember, people might ask to hug or kiss you, but you can always say no,” she advised.

Adults have to use a little judgment as to whether to socialize with children who aren’t their own. Don’t force interaction, Totsch advised, but if the child is interacting with others and seems to want to show you their toys, go ahead and socialize. On the other hand, if the child doesn’t seem to be in a mood to socialize, take the hint and back off. They may be tired or just not in the right frame of mind.

Parents may have to take turns, with one minding the children while the other socializes with adults, so that everyone has a chance to enjoy the party.

“Parents have to care for themselves, too,” Totsch advised. “It’s common for stress related to parenting to bleed over to the marriage. So, communication is important, and knowing your limits.”

As with all parenting, parents have to roll with the situation, but a little planning goes a long way in making holiday parties occasions everyone can feel good about.  

 

Locations
  • CHICAGO DOWNTOWN CAMPUS

    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

    122 S. Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603
    (888) 658.8632
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  • ELGIN

    Conveniently located in a fast-growing business district off I-90 and Route 31, NLU Elgin features 10 classrooms with high-tech media equipment; a computer lab with high-speed Internet access; two conference rooms; and comfortable student lounges. Parking is free at this recently remodeled and upgraded teaching site, which now includes wireless Internet access.

    620 Tollgate Road
    Elgin, IL 60123
    (888) 658.8632
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  • NORTH SHORE

    Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.

    5202 Old Orchard Road
    Skokie, IL 60077
    (888) 658.8632
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  • LISLE

    Located just minutes from the East-West Tollway (I-88), NLU Lisle features 42 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a separate walk-in lab in the library; a café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; conference rooms; and six comfortable student lounge areas with wireless access.

    850 Warrenville Road
    Lisle, IL 60532
    (888) 658.8632
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  • WHEELING

    Located in one of Chicago's major northwest suburbs, the newly renovated NLU Wheeling includes 20 classrooms with high-tech media equipment, four conference rooms, four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, large student lounge areas with wireless capabilities and interactive video capabilities, and an extensive research library. The site also houses the university library research collection.

    1000 Capitol Drive
    Wheeling, IL 60090
    (888) 658.8632
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  • FLORIDA (TAMPA)

    Established in 1988 and located in one of Tampa's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to its classrooms, the National Louis University Tampa Regional Center features a computer lab, student lounges, and conference room.

    5110 Sunforest Drive, Suite 102
    Tampa, FL 33634
    (800) 366.6581
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