What to Do When The Kids Get Sick Before a Holiday Party

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Healthy kids and holidays don’t seem to go together.  I can probably count on one hand the number of holidays that I’ve spent with healthy children. From the emails and phone calls I receive from others who have children, I am not alone. 

Yes, I am careful to feed my kids nutritious food and I make sure they get their rest.  I disinfect the house and make sure they use hand sanitizer after coughing or sneezing.  They still get sick.

I’ve learned over the years that it’s best to be flexible when hosting or agreeing to attend holiday gatherings.  I’ve also learned to NOT tell the kids about certain events until I am sure that everyone will be healthy.  Don’t tell the children about the holiday party for children at the neighbor’s house two weeks in advance.  They’ll drive you crazy asking if the party is today and they’ll be horribly disappointed if they have two weeks to look forward to a party they may have to miss due to illness.

Some parents refuse to cancel their plans and drag their sick children out to parties anyway.  I know how disappointing it can be when you must cancel plans to a party, but sometimes you have to do it.  Not only is it not good for your children to be out when they are sick, but you need to think about the health of the other party goers.  For example, my grandfather has heart problems and if he gets a cold, it can have serious consequences for his health. Because of that, I am careful. If my children even have a hint of the sniffles, I don’t take them to family gatherings where he’ll be present. It’s not worth the risk to his health. 

I’ve also learned that it’s best to check with the host or hostess of a party if your children’s health is “questionable”.  Some folks are laid back about germs; others aren’t.  I have friends who don’t worry about coughs and colds and I have friends who worry about these things.  My friend who is a single mom is always stressed about germs and keeping her children healthy.  I completely understand this because I’ve been a single mom and know that a sick child means a missed day of work. Out of respect for her and her situation, I’ll call her to make sure she’s comfortable about us attending a gathering if my children are even slightly sick.

Sometimes, you can still attend an event even if the kids are sick; you just have to be creative.  One year, the neighbor had a holiday gathering and the children were all sick.  My husband went to the party for an hour and I stayed home with the kids.  Then, he came home and we switched. I went to the party and he stayed home with the kids.  The neighbor sent home goodie bags for the kids to enjoy, and my husband and I were able to get out and socialize for a bit regardless of the children’s health.  The experiment was a great success for everyone.

While it may be disappointing for you and the children to miss a holiday gathering due to illness, remember—there is always next year!


[…] and keep in mind that it’s best to leave an event like this if your kids become overly tired.  Some children were able to stay up until midnight.  Others fell asleep on the couch and […]

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