Be Clear About Age Limits in the Invitation
In general, a party with children and adults will go more smoothly if you let everyone know what to expect. Experts typically recommend that children under the age of 7 not be dropped off alone at a party. It is a good idea to set this limit in your invitation because you do not want to end up unexpectedly trying to handle very young children without their parents. Consider saying something like “we’ll be serving a kids-friendly dinner at 5, and the dinner and drinks for the adults will start at 6” to let adults know that they are more than welcome to stick around during the party. If you are alright with drop-offs, include a note about “feel free to drop off kids over the age of 7 or stick around to socialize with the other parents!”
Have Someone to Watch the Kids
If you are able to get a little extra help, having a party sitter on hand can be ideal. Adults will be able to enjoy the party more if they do not have to stop what they are doing every few minutes to check up on their child. Having a sitter present also gives you the option of moving the kid’s area a little farther from the adult’s area which may be preferable for adults who do not have any children at the party in the first place.
Have Something Entertaining for the Kids
Of course, entertainment is key at a child’s birthday party, but even other events need something to keep the kids busy and happy. Children are not happy to just sit around and chat like adults, so they will want something to do. Try to avoid something that involves excessive parental involvement like a very complicated craft. Good options include games, finger painting, magicians, moonbounces, and other party favorites. You want something that will keep the kids happy for hours and give the adults a little space to socialize with each other.
Provide Plenty of Adult and Kid-Friendly Food
One of the biggest complaints that adults bring up when attending a children’s party is the lack of food. A handful of goldfish crackers and a juice box probably are not enough to get an adult through a party. However, this does not mean that you have to provide massive platters of gourmet food at every event. Instead, just aim for a light spread of foods that people of all ages will enjoy. For afternoon parties, this might be a few snacks while an evening party might require a full meal. Your goal is to make sure guests of all ages have something enjoyable to eat. Good options include sandwiches, burgers, pasta, chips, fruit trays, cookies, pizza, and cheese trays.
Minimize the Alcohol
The idea of having alcohol at a party with children can be controversial in some circles, so try to be sensible about when it is a good time to offer alcohol. Not having any wine at a dinner party just because there are a few children there might bother some adults, but having people doing shots in the middle of a child’s party might make some people uncomfortable too. Always use common sense and consider your guest list and the occasion when deciding about alcohol. Generally, it is best to stick to a compromise and offer something lightly alcoholic but not too boozy. A spiked punch or bowl of sangria can keep the adults in a good mood without turning the event into a wild party that does not work for children.
Create a Safe Outdoor Play Area
Trying to keep everyone trapped in the house during a big party is often difficult and counterproductive. Studies show outdoor parties help children to interact better and play more imaginative games. When the kids can explore outside, they have more subject matter for conversations and games and giving them the opportunity to play outside lets the adults have their own space for more mature conversations. However, parents will be understandably concerned about just letting their children run around outside in an unknown area. If you are lucky enough to have a patio overlooking a yard, this can be an ideal party space. Provide some basic outside toys and games and set up an area where the adults can relax while still keeping an eye on their children.
Create Zones for Adults and Kids
When laying out food, drinks, and seating, try to create a party space that lets people naturally congregate according to ages. A cluster of chairs and adult-friendly snacks in the kitchen can make a natural place for parents to socialize while a low table loaded with art supplies can be an area the kids will gather to play. Try to space these areas so that the parents can keep an eye on their children if desired while still staying a little apart from each other. This gives parents a bit more freedom to socialize while children can play without feeling stifled by the number of unfamiliar adults. Following these tips will help you to throw a party that will be memorable and entertaining for guests of all ages. In general, a party will be a success as long as you have plenty of food, drinks, and entertainment for all of the people there. Once you have everything in place, you can relax and make sure you enjoy the party too.