When children get to that awkward age between the ages of 10 and 13, that horrible pre-teen phase, parents are continuously faced with the same question when looking for anything for their child – is it too childish? That question is almost always followed up by “is it too grown up?” – there just never seems to be anything suitable for pre-teens.
With that being said, organising a child’s party (or casual pre-teen gathering or whatever it is they are calling it they are calling it) is something of a minefield. You don’t want to embarrass your child in front of all of their friends (well, maybe a little bit – but in a good way) by throwing a party suitable for children half the age. So, what is a parent to do?
Ask for your Child’s Input
Now that your child has reached double digits, they are going to have a pretty good idea of what they want. So, it only makes sense to ask them what they want at their party, starting with where it should be held.
Your idea and your child’s idea may not/probably won’t be the same. Discuss ideas with your child and work out what you can and cannot realistically deliver. For example, your child may want their birthday party to be held in the VIP lounge at Old Trafford because they’re a Manchester United fan, although your finances probably won’t cover that. Ask what they would like, discuss with them what is possible and meet in the middle – your child is turning into a young-adult, so it is time to speak to them like one.
As your child grows older, they will want to be seen to act more grown up. Any party that you plan for them should reflect this, but also encompass youthful innocence – after all, they are still a child at the end of the day.
Start with the decorations and other fixtures and fittings. Opt for refined, but colourful, decorations such as bunting and balloons as well as other, more sophisticated, partyware such as luxury party bags, keepsakes and activities. Trade in childish games for music and a dancefloor – whether you hire a DJ for the day/night is completely up to you. After all, most smartphones give you the capability of storing hours of music and creating your own playlist.
The party is one thing, but the presents are something else. You don’t want to be too childish with the party, so you certainly want to put thought into buying a present suitable for such an awkward age. They are much too old for toys, but are they really going to make use of a laptop?
At this age, electronic devices such as tablets and games consoles are king. They are probably a bit too young to settle for a voucher (although by all means include one as part of the gift) as they are still at the age where they want to have something to open up.
Simply ask for ideas of what they want for their birthday (if it is a birthday you are organising a party for) and go from there. As their parent, you will have a good idea of what they will get most use out of and what will be confined to the shelf gathering dust.
Make the Most of It While You Can
Above all else, make the most of organising your child’s parties while they still want you to, because the age where they want to do their own thing is just around the corner. You might look forward to it now, but you will miss having to run around after them.