If you are going to let your teenager throw a Valentine's Day party, you need to lay down some ground rules before you get started with the party planning. Make each rule clear by writing it down, so there can be no misunderstandings. Let your teenager know what they will be responsible for -- from the setup through the cleanup. Just because the party is in your home doesn't mean that you should have to do all the work.
No drugs or alcohol - Make your policy about illegal substances very clear. Even print it on the invitations so that the partygoers know what to expect. Read more about how to deal with teenage drinking.
Set limits. You don't want an open party where an unlimited amount of teens are coming and going all night. Keep the number of invited guests to a manageable number. During the party, dim the lights, but let your teen know they can't be turned all the way off. Also set a time limit and stick to it. Generally four hours is enough time for a teen party.
Hang around. Let your teen know that you will be at the party. And though you don't need to be standing right in the middle of all of their friends, you should hang around. Refill the food trays, handle the music and walk through the party periodically to make sure things are safe and under control.
For a Valentine's Day party, it's easy to make your own invitations. You can create invitations on the computer and print them out, or just grab some pink and red construction paper and markers to create them by hand. The Parenting Teens site at About.com has some adorable Valentine's Day party invitations that are ready to print.
One of the most important things at any party is the food. You don't need to have the party catered, but put a little effort into making the food special and suitable for the Valentine's Day theme. Stick with appetizers and sweet treats rather than planning a whole meal.
Individual heart-shaped pizza. Roll out some pizza dough and cut it into heart shapes using a large cookie cutter. Top with pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese and any other toppings you'd like. Place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 375 degrees until the crust is crisp and the cheese is bubbly.
Heart-shaped cookies. Kids of all ages -- even teens -- love cookies. Make heart-shaped sugar cookies and decorate them with pink and red icing. Check out this recipe for Valentine's Day roll out cookies and other sweet treats.
Valentine's Day punch. Instead of dealing with empty bottles and cans, mix up a batch of this Valentine's Day punch.
Serves 50 (4 ounce servings)
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