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Kids First Party – Bringing The Friendship Home

When your child starts to interact with other children their age, there comes a time where you have to take the interaction outside of the structured environment of professionals and bring them onto your own turf. This would be considered a play date, or a party for most people.

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There are a lot of factors to pull together when you are considering inviting other children ­ and parents, into your home and letting them feel out what you are about, your lifestyle, and most of all how you are raising your child.

Not everything is a no brainer, and impressing the parents can be just as important as impressing your young child’s friend, or friend to be. There are a few steps to consider before sending out those invitations and kicking off the party.

1.) How Many People Should You Invite?

Typically your child’s first get together should be small, and quaint. No high expectations for children or parents, so you should most likely consider doing your first party on a non­holiday, non­birthday time period. Maybe just question your child about their best friend and introduce yourself to the parent. You are also inviting the parent, as well as your child’s friend. No more than two or three for your first party should be allowed.

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2.) What Activities Will They Do?

Setting up a play date, as the adult, requires that you have some activities or games planned out for your munchkins to be doing while they are inside your house. Many of these party games can be suggested by your child’s teacher, or another parent that you consider doing well with their child’s upbringing. Always have a game plan of what children can be doing when you invite them to your house.

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3.) What Snacks Will They Have?

Always be cautious and provide healthy, tummy filling snacks when you have a few kids over to your house. There is nothing worse than a child being released back to their parents and complaining that they are “just soooo hungry!”. It makes you look bad a provider and the parents will definitely take notice. Healthy ideas for snacks are simple: Fruit, vegetables, juice, and the almighty popsicle! Kids love things that get sweet and sticky.

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4.) Screening The Other Child’s Parents

Remember that you are interviewing this child and their parents as well during this get together. A simple phone call is more than enough to realize whether these parents are someone you would possibly send over your own child, if the occasion arised. The ultimate goal is for your child to socialize and gain a network of parent support and feedback for the wellbeing of both sets of parents.

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5.) Clean The House

Then clean the house again. When you think it’s clean enough, clean it again. All kids deserve a sanitary living environment and all parents have a completely different idea of what ‘sanitation’ can be. Your best bet is to go with the highest common denominator and clean until your elbows bleed. Stepping into the house will be the first impression that will last for parents. No one will judge you too harsh, but the cleaner the better for the first couple attempts to merge parents and children.

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6.) Prepare For Emergencies

Is Anabel’s best friend Johnny allergic to fish? Peanut butter? Both? Getting a detailed allergy list is the best bet to gaining confidence with other parents, especially if something may go wrong during the party’s time. Having contact numbers for parents, as well as knowing the needs of all the children attending will keep you breathing easy and facilitate a clean, safe experience for everyone involved.

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7.) Expect The Unexpected And Uninvited

Every once in awhile a child may misunderstand something, may jump the gun and assume they are invited to the party along with full details about the when, where, and why about the event. Just have a little extra and treat them as a special guest, you never know, there is a full possibility that you and your child will enjoy the experience even more if a straggler happens to show up unexpectedly.

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8.) Give Them Their Space At a Close Close Distance

All kids should have the time and space to run a little free and let their hair down so to speak. Just ensure that you are always giving them a check in and making sure that all is well and everyone is being fair.

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9.) Expect Brats

Not all children and their parents are working equally together. Every so often you will encounter a ‘brat’ and they will attempt to hijack the good experience and begin to bully anyone they can. This is where honest communication with the parents of the children will come in, if the child was misbehaving it is your duty to let the parents know. Letting them know their behavior and actions benefits the parents, as well you should note it upon considering that child for a follow up invitation. As well consider this when an invitation is offered to you.

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Just like any first moments with you, and your child, things are going to get rough at the beginning and it’s best to put your best foot forward. Being able to show that your kid’s ‘playdate’ material, and showing yourself off a worthwhile parent are key to your kid’s social life at early stages.

While you don’t want to pander to demanding parents with high standards, you want to choose play mates and parent’s of said play mates with care and consideration. The idea is not to make yourself feel like an unworthy parent, but show off your strengths and just how awesome your family ­ and your child truly is.