The Do's and Don'ts for Planning a Classroom PartyIf you've got a little one in elementary school, you've experienced the classroom party! Just the words "classroom party" may send shivers up your spine, because if not planned properly, it's where moms are scared and kids are wild. Being a veteran classroom mom, I'm here to share the most important do's and don'ts of planning the perfect classroom party. I've also asked a few of my "mom hero" friends. Not only will your child's teacher thank you, but you'll be building valuable school memories for everyone.
- Get the teacher's input. Find out what has worked in the past, what their expectations/restrictions are and if they have their own list of do's and don'ts.
- Form a committee. I'm sure you're capable of organizing a party on your own, but it's never a bad idea to involve other moms who are interested in helping. In fact, it's probably necessary. Meet up a couple of times to make sure everyone is clear on their responsibilities (this sign-up sheet is a lifesaver).
- Be sensitive to multi-cultural and religious needs. A child or family shouldn't feel uncomfortable or excluded because the majority is OK with having a holiday party.
- Plan that some people will forget, so send reminders (they will still forget).
- Have an emergency party-supply kit. Include serving utensils, paper products and tableware. Leave it in the classroom so you are always prepared.
- Plan a start and end time.
- Decide if you need decorations. Who is responsible for what?
- Plan EVERY detail so the teacher feels she can enjoy the party, too!
- Choose a photographer. You're going to want photos!
- Show up to the party and not expect to help out.
- Fail to follow up on agreed tasks
- Flake-out if someone is relying on you. If you have an assigned duty, have a back-up plan in case your child is sick and you can't attend.
The Do's and Don'ts for Planning a Classroom Party
- Find out who has allergies. Talk to the teacher about classroom allergies or sensitivities. It's a big deal to those who have them. Lactose, nuts and gluten can be dangerous for some kids. Allergens can be airborne, so a child sitting at the next table could easily have a reaction. If you have a classroom email list, contact parents to stay ahead of these concerns.
- Have options for kids who are allergic, diabetic or intolerant to certain foods. Offer enough choices so children don't feel singled out.
- Make sure the kids wash their hands before eating!
- Serve finger foods that are either individually wrapped or placed in a thick cupcake sleeve.
- Serve water bottles or juice boxes. Save yourself an unwanted spill.
- Simplify! Cupcakes are easier than cake.
- Show up with food that wasn't on the approved list.
- Bring homemade treats unless pre-approved. I know! It seems ridiculous that we can't make great grandma's special birthday cupcakes, but gone are the days of non-regulated food. Save the homemade treats for a family party.
- Come up short on treats and supplies. Be prepared to replace food that is dropped or spilled.
- Serve caffeinated drinks (to the children anyway.)
- Include anything that offers a choice in color, style or flavor - unless you want drama.
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