Either way, they encapsulate something I’d like to say to you lovely parents when hosting a party for lots of little strangers and their parents.
Don’t panic! It will all be fine.
Sometimes when faced with a big space like a church hall, children will feel the urge to run about. Some will even do that lovely slidey knee thing. ( I wish I could do that and get away with it, but I fear I may never get up again if I tried!)
If they do start to run about, it’s not the end of the world.
Your energy will translate to the children , they can smell the anxiety , just like dogs and they will sense it as fear. That makes it hard for you to take charge and remedy the situation ( if you don’t like the running about, some do!)
So what do you do if you feel that your party is starting to tip into chaos?
- First take a deep breath. Remember your energy is paramount. Calm your breathing down.
- Ask the grown-ups ( or get another adult to help with this) to quieten down. (You’ll be amazed at how much adult noise affects behaviour of children in a party situation)
- If you have an entertainer and they are able to help, ask them to start an activity. The children will listen to a stranger.
- Gain the attention of the children by making a sound that they won’t expect : blow a whistle, bang a tambourine or get a bloke to shout ATTENTION!
- Once the attention is gained, harness the enthusiasm and energy of the children and announce a game in a good confident , projected voice.
- Don’t ask who wants to play … just say WE ARE GOING TO PLAY…Give the children a choice and many will choose to keep on with their own invented/slightly dangerous(?) game.
Play games that involve non competition and action. Try the Hokey Cokey ( Get the grown-ups going too, they’ll enjoy this one especially if they’ve had a glass or two…) Go on a Bear Hunt , Be the Grand Old Duke of York ( or get a suitable bloke to be Sergeant Major and play a version of “Simon Says.” Kids love following instructions! Play Ring a Ring a Rosies with smaller children.
I can’t stress enough how your energy and that of the other grown-ups will affect the behaviour of the children.
Just because they’re running around doesn’t mean they’re being naughty. They’re using their imaginations to fill in the gaps. They’d much rather the adults join in with them and have fun all together.
So Grown-ups , are you ready for the challenge?
YOU Put your Right Foot IN
Your right foot OUT
So next time, don’t panic!