Chef Paula writes for the Ask-the-Expert article, "Party Poopers, No More!"
Even when you've planned and prepared till the cows come home, hosting a birthday party for kids can have its moments of stress. Remember that the occasion is marking another of your child's milestones (one year older, one year wiser, and one more candle on the cake!) - so don't let something as inconsequential as a whiny or unruly child ruin your day, and especially [don't let it ruin] your child's.
So, Long Island party experts were asked...
How can parents deal with a young guest who is being disruptive at their child's party?
Paula Gottlieb Herman, Special Events Planner, writes...
"If as a host parent you know the disruptive child well, you should be able to take him off to the side to ask if everything is all right. Mention in a nonjudgmental way that you have noticed he is not behaving as well as he usually does. If the child won't open up to you, encourage him to call his parents to discuss the situation or to request an early pick-up. Have your cell phone with you, dial up the parents, and allow the child to express himself freely. If the host parent does not know the child well, try to distract him or re-direct his energies, give him some task to make him feel special, or assign another parent to shadow him.
Regarding parent chaperones: For parties with guests ages 2-4, each child should have one parent attending the event to help them with the activities, to calm them down, or to encourage them to participate. A good parent-to-child ratio for kids ages 5-6 can be one adult for every three to four kids. For parties with guests ages 7-12, two or three parent chaperones should be there, with one acting like a lifeguard at a pool, to keep an eye on everything. Parent chaperones should be given specific assignments to help facilitate the party.
Parties should be designed in segments, with each activity lasting about 20 minutes, to keep the kids interested and focused. Choose activities that are not heavily competitive and do not lend themselves to aggressive behavior. For example, piñatas can become a survival-of-the-fittest activity where the bigger kids scoop up more of the candies and the younger ones are left with less candy and more frustration and hurt feelings. Musical chairs sounds like fun but can get physical, and the pushing and shoving can cause problems. Avoid these types of games to ensure a smooth party."