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

The Misunderstood Stay-at-Home Dad

Why does society continue to look askance at men who stay home with their children? This stay-at-home dad gets to the bottom of the issue.

Eco-friendly Birthday Parties

Throw a birthday party that also teaches children about protecting the environment.

Throw a Memorable Milestone Birthday Party

Fresh ideas for a 1st, 5th or 16th birthday party.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Edit ModuleShow Tags


MomSpeak

The voices of local moms
DIY Non-Toxic Bug & Insect Spray

DIY Non-Toxic Bug & Insect Spray

Want to steer clear of chemical bug sprays? Try these recipes for non-toxic alternatives made with essential oils.

Comments


MomSpeak

The voices of local moms
Movie Review: The BFG

Movie Review: The BFG

Mom blogger Rachée Fagg and her daughter review Disney's new movie, The BFG, based on the book by Roald Dahl.

Comments


MomSpeak

The voices of local moms
Hey, Special Needs Moms! You Complain Too Much!

Hey, Special Needs Moms! You Complain Too Much!

Mom blogger and special education advocate Lisa Lightner looks at the complaint-based nature of laws to protect individuals with disabilities.

Comments

Edit ModuleShow Tags


MK Memo

MK Memo: Moms Know
More Fun Facts About the Presidents

More Fun Facts About the Presidents

Get the facts about some of the earliest presidential elections in U.S. history.

Comments

An Overview of PoliticalFest in Philly

An Overview of PoliticalFest in Philly

Kid blogger Sarah Hullihen provides an overview of what you can see at PoliticalFest.

Comments

Fun Facts About a Few Presidents

Fun Facts About a Few Presidents

Learn some fascinating trivia about three past presidents of the United States from kid blogger Sarah Hullihen.

Comments

KidSpeak: The 2016 Presidential Election, Part 3

KidSpeak: The 2016 Presidential Election, Part 3

We asked local kids, ages 5-10, what they would do if they were president. Check out their answers!

Comments

KidSpeak: The 2016 Presidential Election, Part 2

KidSpeak: The 2016 Presidential Election, Part 2

In this dramatic election year, we reached out to youth in both the greater Philadelphia area and near Clevelend, OH, to talk about the presidency. In this post, find out what 8th graders from the greater Philadelphia area think the next president's top priority should be and who they would vote for if they were old enough.

Comments

{/if}