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It's that time again - time to plan for the kids' Valentine's Party. Maybe you're wondering what to do? How to make THIS party different from last year's? Or maybe you're already dreading the amount of chocolate that will come to pass :)

Here are some tips/ideas that I have been brainstorming for our upcoming party.

Don't do this alone. Delegate.
Most of the other parents will be happy to pitch in. After all, they want this party to be great for the kids too. Ask one parent to handle the juice and another to bring a craft to make or game to play. Think before asking for help. The mother with an infant might prefer to grab a few pounds of grapes rather than make time to bake 4 dozen cookies.

Be flexible within a basic structure.
Have a general plan of how the party is going to go. Be prepared with a few different activities so that you CAN be flexible and switch to something new if the first activity isn't going over well.

Consider having snack last.
As you welcome the children and start the party let them know what fun you have planned. Keep the snacks out of sight, if possible. Let them know to expect to have goodies galore right before they go home. This makes it easier to wrap up the party and say the good-byes even when everyone is having a grand time. It also reduces the chances of hyping up the kids who are sensitive to sugar or food dyes.

Crafts
Depending on the size of your party you may want to offer one or two craft tables. Everyone needs a little elbow room so be careful not to crowd the kids around a small table. Be mindful of the ages of your guests. Making a butterfly out of hearts requires cutting out at least nine hearts. This might reduce the fun of the activity for our little people, for whom cutting is still awkward.

Games
Think about the types of games you think the children would enjoy. Use the more active games after the children have been sitting. Be sure to have a less-active game to play right before snack time. This gets them a bit calmer and ready to sit down to enjoy talking with their friends and eating all the goodies.

Take home treats
If you plan to give out goodie bags think about giving them out to TAKE HOME. They have just enjoyed a bunch of party foods and don't need more sugar right now. This allows each family to decide how much candy the child can eat and when.

And most importantly RELAX. You've spent time in planning and prep. You have fun things to engage the children with. You have the help of the other parents. You have a few "plan Bs" in mind. The children will not have much idle time to become bored. The party has a definite start time and end time. This lessens the crankiness factor. ENJOY this time. After all some of these parents are probably your friends too. NO reason everyone can't have fun.

 

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