“The primary ingredient for a successful party is to relax,” says Charlie Downs, a professional chef and co-founder of Foodieparent.com, a food blog for parents who hope their passion for good food will be passed along to the next generation. According to Downs, creating an environment where you, the host, can ensure kids and parents have a fun and pleasant afternoon together, without getting too frazzled, is entirely do-able. “Prepare things in advance,” Downs suggests, emphasizing how vital it is to take your time with setup and arrangements. Remember, when entertaining a group of kids and their parents, the audience is forgiving — the kids can have fun and social-starved parents can catch up while watching over the young ones. Perfection is neither realistic nor is it necessary.
When — and Where — to Have the Party?
When thinking about the perfect time and setting for a party for all ages, try and be flexible. You may want to consider an open house, or broad time frame so that guests can come and go in between kids’ nap times or sporting activities.
If possible, hosting a party at home is best. With a playroom of toys and a stocked fridge, it’s less likely you will run out of resources — from food and drink, to games and entertainment — unlike at a playground or a park, where the “lure of slides and monkey bars tend to wear off rapidly,” Downs says. It’s easier to improvise in your own home than elsewhere, should the kids become antsy or bored. Should the adults outnumber the kids (as is often what happens when the children are young), it is pretty simple to ensure there is enough space for everyone. Plus, there is apt to be more than one kid-friendly bathroom.
In warm weather, the front porch is a great place for a party. Set up a game or activities on the front lawn, and then a kiddie table for activities and a meal. Parents can watch the kids play from a close distance, without worrying that they will collide with corners or slip on floors. Plus, when it comes time to eat, parents can sit in nearby chairs or on the steps while children dine at the table.