Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Seven tips to avoid a kid party gone wrong

How to avoid your child’s party from turning into a disaster

We would all like to think that our kids’ birthday parties will be fun, festive events that our kids will remember and maybe even tell their kids about. The reality is that many parties fall far short of expectations, not always for lack of planning.

These days, it seems, you will find plenty of advice on how to plan your child’s birthday party. We thought it would be helpful to compile some tips that could help your party from turning into a dreaded “kid party gone wrong.”

1. Don’t make the party overly complicated. It’s a kid’s party and, really, no one expects much except for the obligatory games, cake and the opening of gifts. Everything else is just icing on the cake. A party with simple elements means you will have less to coordinate and worry about, giving you more time and peace of mind to enjoy the party.

2. Keep the guest list to a minimum. A good rule of thumb is to invite the number of guests equal to your child’s age, though this guideline might not be so realistic for the youngest kids. Remember that most kids will be accompanied by a parent or two, perhaps even some siblings, thereby adding to the number of guests. Keeping a party small makes it easier to manage and gives you enough time to mingle with your guests to make sure guests are enjoying themselves.

3. Make sure you provide plenty of activities or toys to keep young guests entertained. Games that go with your chosen theme are great entertainment options but kids will be just as entertained with simple toys like a train set (for the younger crowd), a ping pong or air hockey table (for kids five years and older), bounce house or trampoline (all ages). A key piece of advice would be to find adult volunteers willing to help supervise these activities to ensure safety and fairness.

4. Pay attention to your child’s list of requests for the party. Their wishes are usually pretty simple.

5. Avoid inviting entertainers who might unwittingly scare the kids. Make sure the entertainment is age-appropriate for most of the guests. An entertainer dressed up as Incredible Hulk might be too scary for the youngest guests.

6. Keep gift-opening time to a minimum. Some guests may be interested in what the birthday kid is receiving but don't overestimate interest. No one wants to sit through an hour of watching a kid open gifts.

7. Make sure to provide healthy snacks. Keeping sugary treats to a minimum ensures that the cake becomes the main event. Other parents will thank you for this. On that note, make sure to keep the cake out of reach of children. This seems common sense, but having it sit out on a counter may prove to be troublesome. Kids will always be curious about the cake and may want to look at it and be unable to resist temptation to touch - and taste it before the birthday kid has even had a chance to blow out the candles.

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