After 10 or 11 birthday parties, parents may think they’ve got party planning down, but tween parties are a different matter entirely. No longer will your adolescent child be satisfied with a brightly colored cake, simple party games and some balloon animals. Tweens have big plans for their upcoming birthday party, and they won’t be shy about telling you if you don’t get it right. Here’s one suggestion: get an Outdoor TV enclosure for the ideal amount of time spent with friends and family. Here are a few ideas to help you plan a party that your tween will love.
Play to Their Interests
By the time most children reach their tween years, they have some very distinct preferences. They’ve chosen their own style, become a foodie or a picky eater, and generally developed their own interests. Themed parties can be a big hit. Talk to your child about what they’re into right now and plan the party around those interests. If you’re hoping to make the party a surprise, try talking to your tween’s best friends about what they think he or she would love. Depending on your child’s interests, the party possibilities are endless.
If your child is into video games, set up a few different consoles around the house and let the guests play to their hearts’ content. Alternatively, take the party to a local arcade. You might also consider renting a selection of arcade games and having them delivered and set up at your home.
If tabletop gaming is more their style, buy a selection of games and set up a clear space for them to play. If your tween loves RPGs, think about hiring a professional dungeon master to guide them through a special birthday campaign.
For the tween who is all about sports, keep the party active. You can rent some time at a roller skating rink or spend the day at the batting cages. Active kids might love an outing to a facility that offers laser tag or an outdoor paintball course. Hosting the whole party at a local park can offer options like basketball, frisbee golf or flag football.
If your tween is a budding pop star, host a karaoke party. There are a lot of reasonably priced karaoke set-ups available, or you could rent the equipment you need. For an added treat, provide costumes and makeup, film each child performing and send guests home with their very own music video.
Give Them Some Space
The days when your child wanted you to be an active participant in their birthday party are long gone. Tweens are not adults yet, but they really want to be. Although the party needs supervision, find ways to let your tween exercise some independence.
Take care of all the behind-the-scenes responsibilities like bringing out the food and keeping the party on track, but avoid micro-managing activities and try not to correct every minor misbehavior. You may have to bite your tongue at times and you might feel a bit like the hired help, but your tween will thank you for it. At all costs, control the urge to take your turn at the karaoke mic, dust off your gaming skills or display your awesome skateboarding tricks.
Set Expectations Before the Party
Nothing kills a tween party like parents stepping in to correct behavior. Talk to your tween before the party and let them know what behaviors you expect from them and their friends. Have a clear conversation about what behaviors you’re willing to let slide and those that are not negotiable. Let them know that if they want you to be as invisible as possible, they may have to step up to address rule-breaking themselves.
Hosting a party for a group of tweens can be daunting. Communicate with your child to find out what his or her ideal party looks like and then plan something that caters to those preferences. Set boundaries for the party with your teen and then, step back and let them have as much freedom as you safely can.