By Christina VanGinkel
Having a party, at any time of the year, which is going to include children, can be a task if it will mainly be a get together for adults. Toss in the holidays for good measure, and you end up with children who are often wired beyond comprehension, what with all the extra curricular activities taking place during this time of the year. You will want to keep your youngest guests happy though, and have them enjoy their time, yet not be so disruptive to the adults in attendance that the adults will be wishing they left their young charges at home, or did not come at all. Avoid this whole scenario by planning a few extras for the kids to help keep everyone happy and in a celebratory mood.
Food and Drinks
Make sure that if serving food, and what party does not at least include drinks and snacks, that you have a separate, kid friendly place for them to eat, drink, and be merry. If the adult foods may not be the children's liking, be sure to have a separate menu of foods that they will enjoy. The best part is that children most often like simple foods, so the simpler the better. Fresh fruit chunks with cool whip dip is always a kid pleaser, as are tiny sausages, pickles, olives, and rolled lunch meats. Add in a few types of cheese and an assortment of crackers, a bowl of pretzels and some kid friendly dips and vegetable sticks, and you may not hear from them until the end of the evening. Provide them with their own assortment of sodas or juices, and child friendly glassware and dishes, and you will be covering all the food and drinks bases that you could. One lesson I have earned the hard way that I would like to pass along is to avoid serving anything that has the color red in it, be it spaghetti, red soda or juice, or even red Jell-O. Kids seem to think that this color means to smear it all over the place. Why tempt them in the first place is my motto when it comes to this!
Be sure to supply some type of child friendly, and safe, entertainment. Hire a Santa or a few elves for the evening, set up a television and DVD player to play Rudolf and Frosty. If the kids are a bit older, have some games handy that they can enjoy. If you have a wide age range of kids, set up some friendly games such as cotton ball toss, where they have to toss cotton balls into a bucket at a set distance, making it closer for the little ones, and provide some simple prizes that each child can take home, making sure everyone goes home a winner.
Pay a neighborhood teen, or an older child of your own, (Two is always better) to keep control in this kid friendly area. Provide them with a bag of entertainment to keep the party rolling, such as cards, small hand games, a few picture books, etc. Pay them on commission, telling them that the less bothered the adults are, the more they will earn. Happy Holidays everyone!