1. Know your kid
I know that's obvious, but my point is that different children have vastly different temperaments and will thus respond with glee to vastly different situations. Naturally, I've focused on settings to please a sensory-seeking, high energy kiddo like mine! We went to GymStarz where my son could share trampolines, rings, foam shapes, balance beams, balls, and lots of running space with his few guests. Which brings me to my next point...
We almost didn't have a party this year, because my son wasn't sure he wanted to have people. He came up with one person, he might invite. Slowly, he decided he was willing to interact with more people. If he'd stuck with one, we could have had a nice play date at home with one friend. It is easy to overwhelm my kid, but I know lots of kids who thrive on more peers. We had six guests and a lot of space. It was perfect for my guy. So, we have a physical and social situation that fits a particular kiddo and finally...
When my toddler was first dealing with the challenges of Autism and powerful emotions, I found one of the best ways to work him out of a tantrum was to give him control with a technique of hyper-choices. He was upset because he couldn't have... a given food. "I hear you're angry. Would you like your fork on this side or this side of your plate? Would you like the napkin here or here? Water with an ice cube or without?" It could go on for fifteen minutes or more and may sound silly, but it put him in control and you could literally feel the tension, fury, and volume diminish with each answer. My seven year old (WOW, can't believe he's that old) doesn't need nearly so much coddling, but parties are a situation outside the norm and he does benefit from lots of choices (colors, favors, guests, location, cake, ice cream, time, activities). It also makes him feel special :) So... that was a long intro for saying that giving your kiddo the most choices possible will make the party the grandest for them because it doesn't matter if the balloons and the napkins don't match. The more it's truly theirs the more smooth and smily it will be :)
Here's to delightful celebrations as kids grow!
|No wobbles for father and son :)|
|Blow out the candles... that's a flour-less chocolate cake that he dubbed "better than gold"! :)|