8 Ways to include your children when hosting
If you miss your friends' oohing and ahhing over your homemade chili or molten chocolate cakes, there's no reason they -- and their kids -- can't come over for a dinner party. When you want your party to include wine rather than whine, you might consider these simple tips.
Involve kids in the planning
In general, children are creatures of habit and are less stressed when they know what to expect. Be sure to explain the event to your children in a language appropriate for their age, including details and what to expect that evening. While planning, be sure to bring up the subject again, they may even surprise you with an idea or two!
Even the younger generations can take on certain levels of responsibility in the planning of an event. Depending on their age, they can be responsible for creating the kids portion of the evening, from choosing the placemats and dishes to serving desserts exclusively for their guests.
Consider the time of the event
We have all seen the evening meltdown. The witching hours as many refer to it where our children go from calm, serene and playful to wild, over stimulated and unappeasable. Try to avoid hosting events too late if you know that younger children will be attending. Their parents – and you – will appreciate it.
Have a specially decorated children's table
Bring in a table for serving the children at the party. The table should be lower than the adult tables and the chairs smaller to accommodate the pint sized guests. Include a toy, crayons and some coloring activities at each place setting. A white paper tablecloth will allow the children to express their creativity. Give each child his own personalized placemat with his name printed on it to take home after the party. The kids will love the novelty of having a special table just for them.
A prepared hostess makes guests feel welcome when they have your attention at some point during the course of the event. The same holds true for the children at your soiree. They will inevitably need your assistance or guidance at some point in the evening, so be able to help while knowing that your advanced planning made it possible to walk away for at least a moment.
Plan a special children's menu
Some of the foods served at the party may not appeal to kids who would much prefer standard kid's fare. Design a special menu that kids will enjoy such as pizza, cookies and ice cream and serve it to them while the adults enjoy their more sophisticated cuisine.
Set up a special kid's room
Nothing delights children more than being invited to their own special entertainment room. Here you can provide them with toys, special games and cupcakes decorated with cartoon characters and animal faces. Playing some lively children's music will add to the festivity of the experience.
Consider a sitter to watch them
One way to keep little guests occupied at the party is to hire an entertainer such as a magician, face painter or balloon artist to keep the children occupied during the adult celebration and festivities.
The dinner parties you threw years ago don't have to be a thing of the past. With careful planning and coordination, you -- and your children -- can enjoy a fabulous evening with friends.