1. Do not make kids’ birthday parties too long. Kids only have a limited amount of energy and attention span before they start to misbehave and things start to fall apart.
2. Be very clear in the invitation as to whether this is a ‘drop-off’ or a ‘parents-stay-behind’ party. If you aren’t prepared to host 7 or 8 extra adults for the duration of the party, be clear up front.
3. Make sure you have enough eyeballs on hand to help you supervise the party. Extra support can come from your partner or a couple of your friends, but you will need help – especially with younger children.
4. Plan some activities. Don’t over-plan and be disappointed when kids aren’t following all of the instructions. Kids need some freedom and free-play. On the same hand, don’t under-plan and give them too much free time where they can get bored.
5. It won’t go perfectly. Just remember, it’s not so much about the game at hand, it is about everyone being together, smiling and having a fun time. So if they don’t want to play Pin-The-Tail-On-The-Donkey or they decide the magician is boring – move it along and go with the energy of the children.
6. Decide in advance if you are going to open presents in front of everyone or if they are going to be put on a table and opened after the guests leave. If you opt to open presents, be sure your child takes the time to personally thank each guest for the gift. If you have decided to open the gifts later, it is important for your child to call or send a thank you note after to acknowledge the gift that they received.
7. For the uninitiated, you might find it easier to host a party outside the home such as at the movie theatre, a gymnastics club or bowling alley. You won’t have to worry about the clean-up and there are extra staff members on hand that are accustomed to the noise and activity level.
About the Author:
Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine. Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t Misbehavin”. She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at www.alysonschafer.com