After years of planning birthday parties, sleepovers and other engaging activities for your children, the day will come when your teen will want to plan his or her own party (you get to pay for it, of course). The number one thing on the party request list will be for parents to be as far away during the event as possible. Since that will never happen, we’ll focus on other ways to help your teen plan her first party.
Before you spend a nickel or lift a finger, have a meeting of the minds with your teen and establish certain ground rules. Agree on how many people will attend, start and end time for party and other basic ground rules and how infractions will be dealt with should any problems arise during the party. Write the ground rules down and have both parties sign it. Teens and older people have a short memory so it could save a headache if the ground rules have been inked.
If your home or backyard is not large enough to host her first teen party, consider renting another venue for the occasion. Be aware, however, that hosting the teen party at a venue other than your home often attracts uninvited friends-of-friends and makes sneaking contraband in an easier task.
Teens have their own language and that teen-speak is not meant to be understood by parents. To keep things clear for parents and teens, help your kid clearly and concisely words the party invitation, regardless of what method the invites are sent out. Be clear about start and end times so non-driving teens will secure their rides home prior to the party date. Include other needful information like if chaperones will be present, how the teen will get home, if you expect an RSVP and your policy about bringing uninvited guests. List your pertinent contact info and request emergency contact info of parents whose teens will be attending.
Meet and Greet
It’s your teenager’s party, so let her open doors and escort her guests in while you spend a few minutes doing a meet and greet with parents. Remind parents of party end time and how they expect their child to get home.
Music and Food
Buy some ear plugs and let your teen do her own DJ-ing or let her recruit other party members to queue up play-lists.
Food is your contribution to the party, it’s what buys your way onto the event and the only thing that justifies your parental presence. Let your teen select the party menu, but keep it simple and keep it coming. Pizza, chips, dips and sodas are basic teen-pleasers.
While replenishing the snack bowls throughout the evening and picking up discarded soda cans, you can make your rounds and nip unacceptable behavior in the bud.
It’s a Wrap
As the party winds down and parents begin to return to pick up their teens, continue to keep an eye on the kids and call parents who may be running a little late before it turns into a lot late. Call parents of any teen that decides to go home any other way than what was specified on the invitation.
The teenager’s first party should end with his or her helping-hand during cleanup. Cleanup time is a perfect time to connect and discuss the highlights of the party and what to do differently next time.