Edit ModuleShow Tags

Party Pooper Prevention

Keep birthday party behavior happy



If, as the classic childhood ditty has it, every party really does have a pooper, how do you prevent drama from ruining your child’s birthday party?

Parents today invest considerable effort, time and money into planning the “perfect party.” With expectations so high, a host’s day can be particularly stressful even before you factor in the possibility that young or sensitive guests will act out or melt down amid all the excitement.

These eight steps will help you prepare for a tear-free party where the kids behave and the enjoyment level remains high for every attendee — you included.

  1. How many guests? When sending out invitations, follow the classic rule of your child’s age plus one. Not many 3-year-olds can handle the stimulation of a huge party. A short guest list limits the potential for emotional overload.
  2. Timing is everything. Schedule the festivities during your child’s peak times. Avoid naptime for toddlers. Plan a morning event for early birds. And if your tween gets cranky when she’s overtired, steer her away from the idea of a slumber party.
  3. Outsource the site. After watching daughter Tatiana get stirred up by all the pre-party prep, only to pitch a tantrum during the big event, mom Shandy Tilley stopped throwing parties at home. “Having parties offsite allowed us to have a real start and finish time,” she explains. “It made the transition easier for Tatiana if everyone came to  and left the party at the same time.”
  4. Present prep. Manage your child’s expectations about presents to prevent an embarrassing or hurtful response to an unwanted gift. To avoid a random “I hate it” or “I already have that,” role-play a couple of days before the party. Put silly things like a can of peas or a pair of socks into a box. Then have your child open it and respond graciously with the requisite “thank you.”
  5. Out-of-the-box gift openings. Who says presents must be opened only after the cake is cut? My son pushed back at this concept one year and we let him open his gifts as guests arrived. This freed him to enjoy the planned activities instead of bothering us every two minutes to ask when he could rip open all those glorious gift-wrapped boxes. This tactic also allows the giver to have some one-on-one attention when her gift is opened.
  6. Don’t pit guests against each other. If your child’s buddies tend to rough-house, stay away from physical group games. Even age-appropriate activities such as musical chairs can backfire if you’ve got a competitive crowd that gets riled up easily.
  7. Overplan. You’d be surprised how quickly kids finish with party games and crafts. Plan more activities than you think you need to make sure every minute of party time is accounted for. Remember, every free second you give guests is an opportunity to misbehave. (Get craft, snack and game ideas here.)
  8. No peer pressure. Neighborhood “supermoms” set a high bar when it comes to parties. Don’t worry about keeping up with the Joneses; just invite them along in good humor and know that the key to success is to plan a party that’s tailored to your child’s personality and interests, not theirs. And if tears do perchance occur, take heart; it will all seem funny at the parties you’ll throw in years to come.

Sue LeBreton is a freelance writer and mom of two. She is always happy to survive a birthday party without tears.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Content

How to Savor the Moments as Your Child Grows

Learn how to slow down and enjoy each phase of childhood as your child grows.

Parenting a Perfectionist

Help your young perfectionist recognize the value of mistakes and learn to appreciate the process more than the outcome.

The Best Children's Books of 2016

Find great book recommendations for kids from early readers through teens in this list of favorites from The Horn Book Magazine.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags


MomSpeak

The voices of local moms
You're The Reason Mommy Drinks

You're The Reason Mommy Drinks

Are we giving our kids the wrong impression about alcohol by joking about its role in parenting?

Comments


MomSpeak

The voices of local moms
Fun With FAFSA

Fun With FAFSA

If you have a student who's preparing for college, and you're applying for financial aid, this post may sound eerily familiar.

Comments


MomSpeak

The voices of local moms
31 Daily Habits to Get and Stay Organized

31 Daily Habits to Get and Stay Organized

Gradually add one or two tips to your routine for a more organized home and life!

Comments

Edit ModuleShow Tags


MK Memo

MK Memo: Moms Know
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Coming to Philadephia

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Coming to Philadephia

Get all the details about the area's newest attraction and its grand opening!

Comments

Create Healthier Tech Habits for Kids

Create Healthier Tech Habits for Kids

Get your kids' tech use under control and teach them to to police it better themselves

Comments

Tips for Great Dental Hygiene

Tips for Great Dental Hygiene

Follow these helpful guidelines to ensure healthy teeth and proper dental hygiene practices for your kids.

Comments

Cirque du Soleil’s New Avatar-based Show Comes to Philly

Cirque du Soleil’s New Avatar-based Show Comes to Philly

The world of Pandora comes to life on stage!

Comments

Mom Com Comeback

Mom Com Comeback

Adult coloring books are all the rage. Harried moms will appreciate the humor in this new coloring book from a former MetroKids cartoonist!

Comments

{/if}