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A children's birthday party can be a harrowing experience. It's not as simple as putting out snacks and sitting back while your little one plays with his friends and opens presents. There is potential for childhood outbursts and unruliness if you don't stay one step ahead of children as the day progresses. Parenting Magazine offers the following tips for keeping children tear-free and occupied at your children's birthday party.
1. Have activities begin as children are arriving. Set up a project to keep guests occupied as others arrive and help them warm up to one another. Some ideas include making a birthday banner or decorating paper crowns or color paper place mats.
2. Kids whip through activities quickly, so have plenty lined up. In a pinch, use household stuff to amuse them -- a puppet show made of socks or a craft station set up for little ones to trace their hands, make snowflakes or create a birthday card.
3. If you're dealing with children 4 years old and under, keep in mind that many find it hard sharing their favorite toys. Put your little one's favorite toys out of site before all the kids get there.
4. Minimize chaos. Kids start a party already amped up, so have activities in a couple of rooms if possible so guests don't swarm together in one spot. Follow a high-energy game with a lower-key one.
5. Get extra help. Hire one or two high schoolers. For $10 or $20 each, they can help with crafts and games, pass out cake slices, and spare you from leading the hokey pokey.
6. Say no to life-size Scooby-Doo or SpongeBob. They're a hit with bigger kids, but little ones may freak out when they see a 6-foot character with a giant head.
7. Take some toys/games for a test run before doing. For example, make sure the pinata works. Prime it with a couple of whacks before kids take their turns, or buy one with strings that you pull to release the bounty.