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Go ahead and hire a sitter for New Year's Day

Tim Nelson
December 18, 2018

The holiday season is a delicate balancing act for those raising kids. There are plenty of social events to attend (many of which involve alcohol), but you’ve also gotta, you know, make sure your children don’t die. For most parents, that means hiring a sitter so they can enjoy a worry-free night out with a few drinks. But if a recent report is any indication, partying parents may want to line up some childcare help for January 1st.

That’s because parenting with a hangover around the holidays can be more of a tough task than parents anticipate. A report from the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health at the University of Michigan, found that nearly a quarter of the 1,170 respondents with kids under the age of 10 admitted that they don’t pay as much attention as they should to how much they drink in social situations and how overindulgence might make parenting more difficult the next day.

"Most parents planning to drink alcoholic beverages on a night out arrange for a designated driver and childcare for the event itself," poll co-director Sarah Clark said in a press release. "Fewer parents may consider how their alcohol consumption could impact parenting responsibilities to their young children the next day."

The impact of hangovers on parenting makes sense if you think about it. When you’ve poisoned your body with alcohol, taking care of yourself is a monumental struggle to the point that tending to the needs of another miniature human might just be too much to bear. And that’s not to mention that hangovers get worse as we age, making a night out a lot harder to bounce back from than they were back in college.

Obviously, issues with how parents handle their alcohol can arise even before loud children can kick their hangovers into high gear. Eight percent of respondents (about one out of twelve) admitted to putting themselves in a situation where alcohol consumption made it harder to parent. It’s unclear if that refers to active intoxication or a crippling hangover. But either way, booze and attentive child rearing don’t really mix.

So how should you plan ahead if you think you’ll be tipping a few back at that Christmas or New Year’s Eve party? Beyond dialing back the drinks (by working water or soda into the mix between rounds), making advanced child care arrangements that can extend through the party and into the next day seems to be the way to go, Clark says.

“Having children stay the night at a relative's home or asking a grandparent to stay overnight are options to ensure young children are in a safe and supervised environment."

There you have it: if you can’t avoid a crippling hangover around your children, enlist your parents to do your job.  

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