Birthday Party Survival Guide for Parents
by Jasmine Brown
The thought of entertaining a bunch of energetic kids for an hour or two can seem daunting - but don't give up yet! With a little preparation you can, yes, even enjoy your child's birthday party!
* Prepare in advance - Make a list before the party starts of the games you would like to play. Make sure you have all supplies prepared well in advance and put supplies and instructions for each game together to make sure you have everything in place before the kids show up.
* Be over-prepared - prepare more games than you think you will need - this way if something goes faster than expected, the kids just aren't interested, or the pizza delivery is late, you won't be stuck with a multiple-meltdown by 10 bored 5 year olds (and make sure the pizza is free if it's late! :) ).
* Have a baby-sitter on hand - if you are throwing a party for your 8 year old but 5 year old Danny and 2 year old Stacy will be attending as well, see if Dad or Grandma can be around to make sure they don't feel left out. If not, consider hiring a baby-sitter for the younger ones so they don't get in the way.
* Don't be afraid to ask for help - See if Aunt Sara can come along with her kids to help you run activities, or if you're friendly with any parents of the kids who are coming to the party see if they will help out in exchange for your help at their party - you'd be surprised how many parents feel slightly overwhelmed by the idea of playing games with someone else's kids!
* Use a party theme - Kids love to perform. Let them dress up and play games around a theme, whether it's Spiderman, Barbie, or whatever you're child's favorite obsession happens to be right now. It will not only add excitement to each game you play, you'll find the kids making up their own games and activies as you play.
* Go with the flow - Follow the children's lead. If they are enjoying a particular game, let it continue longer than planned. If a game just isn't keeping their attention, or is causing fights, wrap it up a bit faster or just end it. The outline you've prepared is just that - an outline, not a script. The focus should be that the kids are having a good time.
* Team Spirit - Many kids, the younger ones especially, get frustrated easily when playing comepetitive games. Try to divide the kids into two teams rather than pitting them one-to-one against each other. Kids who are out can stay "in the game" by cheering on teammates who are still playing. Each team can wear a certain color shirt, or silly hats, to identify which side they are.
Jasmine Brown, Teddy Bear Party http://www.teddy-bear-party.com
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