A cocktail party – children welcome
Yes, that’s right, a cocktail party where the kids are invited. I am a strong believer that your social life does not have to be put on hold while raising a family. A sitter and a night out are great, but not a financial reality if you plan to see friends more than once a month. Chances are, if you are in the thick of parenting young children, so are your friends. So, throw caution to the wind and host a cocktail party, invite the kids and get social again. If you do it well, you’ll set a precedent and next time you’ll be the one to accept an invite to a party where your kids are welcome to attend. No sitter, no stress.
Start by putting together a realistic guest list. If you live in a 2 bedroom apartment, inviting 8 couples and more than a dozen children probably won’t deliver a stress-free evening, for anyone. Invite friends with children that are about the same age. This will make the socialization process easy on the children and in turn, will keep the kids out of the adults’ space. Children under 5, in general, still need a lot of parental supervision. Be prepared for the challenge or hire a “helper” for the duration of the party if you plan to host a younger crowd.
Start at 5 or 6 pm. The adults can enjoy a welcome cocktail while the kids eat and get acquainted. Remember, hungry kids are cranky kids and cranky kids make for crankier parents! Also, an early start will probably mean an earlier end to the evening.
Go ahead, get fancy and impress your adult guests. After a week of work and kids, they will welcome the luxury of deluxe finger foods and colourful cocktails. That being said, keep it simpler for the kids. A table spread of mini-meatballs, veggies and dip, chicken fingers and bite size cheese will make even the pickiest eater happy. And, let the kids use the pretty cocktail plates (paper, of course), napkins and decorated toothpicks.
Even in a smaller home, a kids-only space will give the adults the space they need to eat, drink and chat out of their children’s earshot. Have the space stocked with board games, arts & crafts, a television (movie/video game night) and anything else that you know your group of kids will enjoy.
Children will be children. There may be bobos to kiss, spills to wipe up and siblings to separate. But, there will also be friends to laugh with, share with and unwind with. Something all parents need, often.