Party Planning For A Soon-To-Be Teen
Planning a party is stressful. But it can be fun if you let it! We will be working on planning a party for Amber. She is turning 13! That’s right, she will officially become a teenager! Scary for Mom, exciting for her.
Let’s talk about the planning process. We have been planning birthday parties for years. Food, games, cake, invites etc. Once we hit the teen years this is going to be a different process. Of course they are going to want cake and food but we are going to swap out games for music and a few other things. To be quite honest there will be less work for you but that will be the hard part. We are used to partying with our kids, this is a big no-no in the teen years. You have to take a step back and let them be, well, them.
Alright back to planning…
Location! Personally I don’t want any size group of teens in my house. I am looking for another place to hold this party. I would discourage you from using a public park. Parties at a public park should really stop at about age 10. Look for recreation centers, indoor pools etc. There are some parties that don’t require a physical location. If you do a scavenger hunt at the mall for example. Check out my list of things to do instead of a party! Of course if you are comfortable with using your home go for it!
Invitations: No more cutesy mailed invitations! At this age there is more Facebook invites going on than anything else. Let your guest f honor create the invitations on Facebook with your supervision. Make sure to include an end time! Then expect the end time to actually be later. It will take time for goodbyes and waiting for rides etc. Make sure to provide a phone number in case parents want to contact you. Most likely they wont but at least you offered! Set a specific number with your child for how many guests they can invite, then expect about 50% more to arrive. If you say 10 expect 15, say 20 expect 30, etc. For some reason, nobody RSVP’s anymore. I wouldn’t even include it unless you are doing something specific that you need to know exactly who is coming or you are buying tickets to an event etc.
Prior to the start of the party make it clear to your child that if she sees anything that is not allowed that she should feel comfortable telling them “Hey, that’s not cool. That isn’t the kind of party we are having.” or coming to you if she feels like its beyond her control. Maybe even have a signal set up so she doesn’t feel like she is tattling or get embarrassed. You have to feel comfortable stopping any negative behavior too!
Party Day: Enlist a co-chaperon, preferably male if this is a co-ed party. As guests arrive you should greet them and get the parents phone number! If there is any issue which causes you to send someone home, you should have a parents phone number!
Your job once the party starts is to watch without being seen. There is no upkeep or playing games anymore. Depending on your relationship (how cool you are) you may need to make excuses like refilling snacks, etc to spy a little. This may be your child’s first experience in this type of setting so she may feel comfortable knowing you are nearby. Just be careful not to embarrass her!
Some obvious rules to being a cool mom:
- NO dancing, for any reason, even if you are a professional hip hop dancer! JUST DON’T!
- NO cutesy nicknames!
- NO balloons, pinatas, games or hats (unless your teen want to do it as a joke)
- NO kissing or hugging until EVERYONE has left! (don’t kiss you kids or your spouse!)
- DO let the
childrenteens choose the music! (even if there is swearing) If you have smaller children you may want to get them an afternoon/evening with Grandma or a friends house.
- DO have plenty of snacks.
- DO have cake or cupcakes.
- DO know that you are in charge even if you are not visible!
- DO remember when you were this age and how much you did that your parents don’t know about (this should be taken however you wish ;))
When the party is over: Announce it! Teens tend to wait for instructions before doing anything. Has your teen ever cleaned something/walked the dog/washed the car without being asked? Exactly! Once you announce the end of the party, hopefully some parents will be there but most likely they will not. Allow about 30 minutes for everyone to actually leave. Some parents will wait for the teens to call for their ride, make sure there is a phone available if they do not have one.
Sometimes your teen will be grateful enough to help clean up on their own, taking cues from you. Try engaging them in conversation after everyone has gone while you are cleaning. They may join in the cleaning without you having to ask. A couple times of “could you hand me that trash bag?” may give them the hint. Don’t ask them to clean up, consider it a gift to them. Don’t be disappointed if they don’t! They may ask to spend the rest of the day/evening with one of their friends. Remember, this is her day, she should have fun. This is the beginning of your trust relationship with an independent teenager! You have to give a little to know you can trust them!
Will I remember all of this when the time comes? I hope so, at least some of it! Do you have any tips for me to survive? Please share!