10-12 year old are different. They are not all grown up yet but they are not children either. They are often referred to as “tweens” which is a term comprised of “teen” and “between”. It is one of the most challenging periods in a person’s life, just because it requires enormous mental and emotional strength to get through it. After all, tweens are in the turbulent transition mode, when they start looking for independence and form their preferences, but still need a lot of parent’s attention and connection to their family members.
Successful parties for tweens, therefore, create a strikingly beautiful balance between fun and seriousness. What makes tweens so different is their deep desire to imitate the adults but the absence of a necessary coping mechanism to do it all on their own. They also still very much enjoy childish play and being active.
Apparently, tweens are special, so if you want them to remember the party, make sure to follow these invaluable tips:
1. Be considerate of who you are inviting
By the age of 10 your kids already formed a close circle of friends, and while they are eager to meet new people, they also want to feel comfortable at their own birthday party. At this age they are already very much aware of the social norms and having total strangers at the party will leave them feeling restricted. Be sure to consult with your kid on the list of guests. You might feel tempted to invite some kids whose parents you are friends with, but tweens know that the party is thrown in their honor, so they are unlikely to tolerate people they don’t like.
Another problem that many parents face is school’s rules. Some schools would not allow for party invitations unless the whole class is invited. But it is understandable that only a few families can afford a party for 20 people. However, there is a way to get around it. Instead of giving out invitations at school try posting them or send an email invite. Have a talk to your kid about the party and discourage her from party talk during the school day. Be mindful of uninvited guests feelings and teach your kid some etiquette manners.
2. Be mindful of their interests
In tween years kids start to develop their sense of identity. While they are not yet a fully formed person, they will try to explore different hobbies and interests to figure out who they truly are. At this age, they constantly change passions depending on their own intrinsic values but also following the increasing social pressure that they face at school. One day you may find your kid listening to R&B because the most popular kids do, but then another day she might be reveling in jazz music. So, before you throw a soccer party, make sure to check with your kid on his current hobbies. You might be surprised at how diversified her list of hobbies is and avoid the disappointment at the party.
3. Consider adult life imitating themes
Tweens have moved beyond Disney princesses and superheroes but they are not ready for cocktail parties either. They still like to have great fun at the party and enjoy making decorations. So what options of party themes do you have? Remember, that kids of that age admire adults and would like to be seen as ones, so themes that imitate popular adult activities and hobbies are a great choice for a party. Also, consider literary themes such as Harry Potter and Hunger Games since they tend to be popular among kids of that age.
- Craft making
Allow your kids to try their hand at a new hobby and exploit their creative skills with arts and crafts party theme. You can decorate the room with canvases and famous paintings and pretend to be artists for one day. Some activities to include into the party are canvas painting, candle making, jewelry making, gardening, and cooking.
- Spa day
Having seen her mother at the spa getting a manicure or massage has surely made her jealous and wanting to pamper herself too. Well, give her that chance by organized a spa day party. Get sweet smelling lotions and creams, nail polish, tissues and towels and plenty of candy and green tea.
- Sleepover party
The all time kids favorite, sleepover party can be a great choice of a theme. It is relaxing and comfortable and creates a perfect atmosphere for making new friends. Pick up a few movies, buy delicious snacks, buy same style pajamas and watch as your kids wallow in the piles of pillows and discuss latest school gossip.
- Dance class party
If your kid is into dancing, you can organize for her to teach her guests. But don’t be discouraged if your kid is not a dance genius. You can always learn some new dance moves on Youtube.
- Sports parties
This theme is especially suitable for boys. Soccer, basketball, baseball, cycling, tennis, and gold – all make up for a perfect party theme. Sports based themes encourage kids interest in physical activities and allow them to showcase their achievements to the peers.
- Rope obstacle party
At this age, everything that screams adventure gets them super happy. Try some adrenaline-inducing but perfectly safe activities such as kids rope obstacle course at Waka Waka located at Annex building @ Furama Riverfront. The course reinforces confidence and curiosity towards constant learning.
4. Involve them at each step of party planning
Having seen many parties organized with minimal involvement on their part, at the age of 10 they start questioning your choices. This is a perfect time to get them involved and turn party planning into a learning experience. Party planning is a serious business, and your kids should know that choosing a theme and activities is only a small part of it. Having the kids involved at each step of the way will help them learn planning, managing and executing skills. By taking a party from a vague idea to the real thing they will start to appreciate hard work, exercise their attention muscles and learn how having a clear vision and goals can drive things forward. They will most likely be excited to come up with ideas and reluctant to do the nitty gritty work but you need make sure they are making their little contribution each step of the way. Here are several ways to get the kids involved:
- Have them research the themes and come up with ideas for decorations
- Invite them to list their favorite activities and learn the rules. Have them practicing explaining rules to the guests
- Writing and signing invitations is an arduous process for the parents but it is an exciting activity for the kids that make them feel important
- If you are hosting a party at home, kids can also help with food shopping and preparation.
- Take them to your planned party venue so that they can see the setup and help with decorations.
5. Less structured activities
Try to keep a good variety of physical and intellectual party activities. Tweens are still very active but the range of their interests vary significantly and they can also be enjoying calmer, educational activities, such as reading, card games and scrabble.
They also don’t like to be controlled that much, so don’t get too detailed with the plan and be prepared for the party to not go as planned.
6. Restrict mobile and social media use
Last but not least, at this age children are introduced to the online world and they probably enjoy it immensely. A party with a bunch of 10-year-olds staring at their screens is a far cry from a perfect, memorable, bonding celebration. Hopefully, your party will be so entertaining and engaging that you won’t have to watch out for antisocial behavior. Imposing strict no mobile phones policy will likely have an adverse effect, but a simple reminder of the meaning and importance of the occasion at the beginning of the part will work wonders.
Tween’s party are just like any other party: fun, full of laughs, memories and crazy pictures. Only they are the same but different with tweens wanting more and more personal space and ability to make their own decisions. Get the kids involved, do an extensive research and support them every step of the way, and your party will have no rivals!