Make Your Holiday Gatherings Kid-friendly
By FeatureSource Staff

Have you been to holiday parties where children are playing catch with tree ornaments, finger painting with guacamole dip or otherwise detracting from the festive mood?

“Often, children become party poopers because they’re bored and restless at an event that has been designed with adults in mind,” says Patty Sachs, author of “Pick a Party: The Big Book of Party Themes and Occasions” and “Pick-a-Party Cookbook: The Big Book of Party Refreshments and Table Décor” (Meadowbrook Press).

“It doesn’t take much effort or preparation to ward off this potential party pitfall,” Sachs says.

Sachs offers five kid-friendly suggestions:

For a 100 percent turnout, send an invitation to each child with instructions to “bring your parents.” This strategy generally guarantees enthusiasm, involvement and, in most cases, the child’s best behavior.

Set up a specially decorated area for children, complete with kid refreshments, activities to keep them entertained and perhaps a teen guest or two to act as “counselors” to supervise the youngsters. Organize simple, easy craft projects that will serve as holiday gifts. Include wrapping supplies to keep them busy even longer.

Provide costumes to inspire tiny thespians to put on a short play for the adults. The rehearsals alone will absorb kids for a stretch of time.

At a family gathering, assign each child a senior guest to “look after.” Or assign a child to fetch refreshments, clear away soiled glasses and so on. These important roles prompt responsible attitudes and raise self-esteem.

Give each child a turn at snapping a picture with a one-use camera. Expand on the activity and have children write down the names of guests who appear in their creative shot. This is an excellent way to initiate interaction between children and adults — sure to result in the better behavior of both.
For more on catering to kids at holiday gatherings, visit Sachs’ Web site, The site is loaded with free party-planning ideas, party designs and valuable resource links for hosts of both personal and business occasions. Visitors to the site can sign up for a free celebration-planning e-mail newsletter, seek free entertaining advice or search for party goods and books.

Sachs has written eight party-planning guides and many articles, reports and newsletters for consumer and trade publications. Sachs, who is a popular spokesperson and authority to media sources, is available for an on-air or expert interview. Contact her at (904) 272-0959 or


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