Sunday, April 11, 2010

Party Tasks Part Deux

In the last post I talked about some aspects of your child's party that you might want to take on when it comes to the cake and decorations. This time let's tackle the activities. So many parents say they are stymied when it comes to what to do with their little party guests. Nothing says "chaos" like a house full of kids who are bored. If they're climbing the furniture, having a balloon fight or running into walls, it's time for "Party 911."

You can choose to hire someone to entertain the kids but that will not eliminate the stress altogether. You still have to inject your own system of order.
As the kids are arriving, have something to keep each child occupied, like working on a craft. Once everyone has arrived, it's time to start some games. This can be in lieu of an entertainer or until he or she arrives. I like to start with the quieter games like bingo, musical boxes, pin the X on the map, or movie scripts - depending on the theme and age of the children. The more raucous activities come near the end of the party when the kids are all sugared up and just about to be swept out the door.
Have the children sit in a circle on the floor. "Circle" is a shape that is difficult to acquire with a group of constantly moving bodies, but I leared a trick: while everyone is still standing, have them hold hands and spread out while still holding hands until you have near enough to a circle and then say "drop your hands and sit."
Another trick to help with the games: put a name tag on each child and then put a number on each name tag. Let the kids know the number tells them when it's their turn for something. This goes a long way in keeping the peace and you don't get the shoving and "my turn, my turn" pleas. I use the same numbering system for gift unwrapping time. The kids readily embrace the concept because it's "fair."
My final piece of advice for the do-it-yourselfer: if you're doing games and giving prizes, make sure everyone gets a prize and make sure everyone knows ahead of time they will be getting one. Civility maintained.

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