Skip to main content

Five Tips For Taking Kids To the Company Party

You have received an invitation to the company party that says young kids are welcome. So...are you going to bring your kids, or not?

I've been there, shadowing a trouble-seeking toddler who was aggressively roaming the very well-manicured, multi-level home of The Boss, who just so happened to collect colorful, and incredibly breakable, vases! Of course, grabbing the glassware and dropping it on the floor was the ultimate goal of our toddler, who, for some reason, did not have bookcases filled to the gills with gorgeous, prism-shimmering glassware at home.

The boss was incredibly gracious and welcoming, but playing successful shelf defense*** was utterly exhausting. As fun as the party was, I felt like a shell of a human being on the drive home as our toddler snored in the car seat.

I suppose my story isn't a ringing endorsement of hitting the company party circuit with children in tow, but I learned a few things from the experience! Bringing young kids to the company holiday party can be done, and here are five basic tips for making it a better experience for everyone.

1. Decide whether they're up to it. You know your kids best. Could they handle an environment filled with boring adults potentially talking shop for hours? Is the party venue (a very upscale restaurant, etc.) decidedly not kid-friendly? If the very thought of managing your rambunctious children at the party leaves your stomach tied in knots, then it might be better to hire a babysitter, or grandma, for the evening. No worries. You might say the kids were excited to see their grandma who is in town for the weekend, or simply say they were too tired after a busy day to attend. Maybe next year!

2. Outline your expectations. Sit the kids down and tell them what you expect. We're going to my boss's house for a party. It will be fun, but you'll need to be on your very, very, very best behavior. Then explain what you mean by "best behavior." Depending on the age, brush up on words such as "please," "may I" and "thank you." Teaching children not to interrupt constantly (e.g., learning strategies for how to wait their turn to talk) is a good idea, too. Your co-worker, who can't seem to finish a thought before being interrupted (again!) by an inquisitive first grader, will thank you.

3. Bring emergency backup. Bored kids can make for a very long evening. There's no shame in keeping a few, small things on standby for the kids to do. New crayons and a coloring book, a small, toy-like item of few removable parts, and yes, a tablet featuring their favorite games (with sound turned off, please). You might inquire beforehand if it's okay to bring such items. Who knows? The host may have already lined up a bouncy house, face painting, and a visit from Santa!

4. Put the older kids to work. Kids 7 and older can take on a little bit of responsibility at the company party, and they'll probably enjoy being put in charge of something, no matter how small! Just make sure it's okay with the host first. Older kids can, for example, make sure everyone has a napkin, help to entertain the younger kids by showing them how to use a Wii or Xbox -- whatever works to keep them from uttering the dreaded two words: I'm bored. You might even offer to pay them an allowance for their hard work. (Hey, they've earned it!)

5. Don't sweat the small stuff. Your child reaches up to take a cookie, and the whole platter falls to the floor. Ahhhh! Relax, things happen. Any working parent has been there and quietly understands, even if they won't admit it. Graciously pick up the pieces and move on quickly. If your child has a tantrum, immediately take him or her somewhere else (outside for some fresh air, to an empty spare room, to the car) until everything's better. Go with the flow, and appear unflappable. This is your life -- work and home, together as one -- and you're managing it all the best you can! You're doing a good job, too. Hang in there, you can go home soon.

Trust me: You're not the first, and you won't be the last, to ask this question! A few quick years from now, you can look back with a smile to remember what it was like to be in your co-worker's spit-up covered shoes. Kids are awesome and they're part of the circle of work life for many of us. Of course, our children were perfect angels at the company party. Just kidding.

*** We left without breaking any glassware. I'm still proud of it to this day.

Comments

  1. Though a summer party relies heavily on frosty drinks. Don't forget to have plenty of snacks on hand too. And the moment you notice an empty glass, arrange for it to be refilled promptly. There are a lot of company party ideas that you can try.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Seven tips for dealing with a jealous coworker

Look at you, doing so well at work! We're so happy for you. Well, most of us are happy for you and refuse to spend the entire work day talking behind your back. Let's talk about how to handle our jealous co-workers!Like every other professional, you've no doubt experienced your share of failures and successes. Lately, however, things seem to be going your way at work. And how! Perhaps you've managed to ace an important project this quarter, been instrumental in landing a huge client, earned some well-deserved rewards for this and that, or -- egads! -- been given a slight promotion or additional work responsibilities (e.g., the work responsibilities you actually want).You're quietly chuffed, but somehow your co-workers seem none too pleased with this rapid turn of events. Oh no, what should you do now?It's a workplace tale older than the disjointed last season of Mad Men. The playing field in the department was even, cozy and overall very friendly -- until so-an…

Employees Blame Technology For Slowing Them Down At Work

Do you feel like you're always working, but never getting very much done? If so, you're not alone. Too much technology, and too much red tape, keep slowing us down at work. But technology, and more of it, is supposed to make our lives easier! Too much technology, however, does not compute for employees. A new SAP/Knowledge@Wharton survey of almost 700 corporate employees finds a full 60% of respondents blame technology "for inhibiting their ability to meet strategic goals." Gee, anyone who has ever used the self-checkout line at the grocery store can tell you that. However, 40% surveyed said that looking for ways to simplify the technology has been "a low priority" for their company. Too much paperwork is an on-going problem for the workplace, too. A new ServiceNow survey of nearly 1,000 managers finds that 90% are doing too much administrative work, no matter the size of the company. This paperwork includes filling out forms, writing status updates, …

Is Your Co-worker Always Late For Work?

You've started the workday, but where is your co-worker? Oh, she's running late again, just like yesterday. And the day before. And the day before that. Let's get an early start on solving her tardiness problem, shall we? Working with someone who is consistently late is one of the most annoying aspects of office life, and also one of the most common, unfortunately. It's a universal theme of the workplace that everyone will get to work on time (give or take a few minutes...) except for the employee who is egregiously late nearly every day. And the excuses can get pretty amazing. Employees became more punctual as the Great Recession lingered, at least according to surveys. Everyone, that is, except for your able-bodied but habitually-tardy co-worker. It's bad enough dealing with tardiness when you're a manager, but it can be even more frustrating when you're a rank-and-file peer without any magical "shape up or ship out" managerial powers. So you…