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When Your Child Is Host


A parent should be present for the entire party

Your presence at the party will help keep the party running smoothly. Your presence will also give you an opportunity to meet your child's friends. When possible, do not have the party in a separate part of the house. When the children gather on the main floor of the home, your presence will seem more natural and non-obtrusive. You may want to designate additional responsible adults to help chaperone the party. One adult for every 10 kids is a good rule to follow. With fewer adults, it is difficult to keep track of what is happening, and you increase your liability in case of an emergency.


Alcohol or other drugs should not be served or allowed at the party

All adults need to be alert to the signs of alcohol or drug use. Unruly guests or those who try to bring in alcohol or drugs should be asked to leave immediately. If anyone arrives at the party under the influence of alcohol or another drug, the child's parent should be called to ensure their safe transportation home.

You may be liable both criminally and for damages if you furnish alcohol or drugs to a minor. Check with local officials or your attorney for specific laws, ordinance guidelines, and rules.

If anyone leaves the party they should not be allowed to return

This will discourage people from leaving your property with the intent to drink or use drugs and return to the party.


Encourage small parties

Do not allow an open-house party. This type of party limits the control that both the parent and the children have over what happens at the party. Keep a guest list. Know the curfew laws for your area. Set time limits for the party that will enable children to be home before the curfew.


Parents and the child need to set the date and the theme of a party

Set a date that is convenient for the parents, the child, and the guests. Avoid having a party on a day that is filled with school activities. Make certain that the parent has some free time before and after the party date to take care of preparation, party time, and follow up.

A theme adds excitement to the party. Be creative and think of fun ideas. Some possibilities might be a luau, scavenger hunt, or TV show.

Parents and the child need to sit down and write out ground rules for the party

This will give you both a good opportunity to express feelings and concerns. Let your child know what is expected of him/her. When children and parents work together to determine the rules (and the consequences), the child is more motivated to help enforce them. Help your child understand your philosophy of non-alcohol and non-drug parties.


Send invitations a few weeks before the party

Do not have your child distribute invitations at school!! Find the address of each child and send the invitations in the mail. Do not allow non-invited guests to attend the party.


Notify neighbors a week before the party

Notify neighbors that you are planning a party. Your child should contact close neighbors asking them to please let you know if there is too much noise. Also, help the neighbors understand that the party is being properly chaperoned and the hours that they can expect any minor inconvenience.


Notify police when planning a large party

This will provide safety for both guests and neighbors.


Plan to have plenty of food and non-alcoholic drinks

As you and your child prepare for the party it is important that you plan foods that the children will enjoy. If you need some ideas, check out our "snack section." You may want to make preparing the food part of the fun. "Make your own" taco, pizza, or sundae can add a spark to the party.


Plan activities with your child prior to the party

As with the food, it is important to have your child involved with planning the activities for the party. You may want to also include the child's best friend. There are game ideas in this booklet. As a part of the activities, make sure that you and your child plan for the music that will be played during the party. Preview music for appropriateness. It is best to not allow kids to just bring music to play. You don't need to be surprised. If you need additional music, make certain that your child tells the other youth what type of music you have both agreed is appropriate.


Plan for the "flow" of the party

You need to make a plan for the "flow" of the party. What will happen as the friends arrive? When will they eat? When will they engage in activities? It is best to plan this with the child.


Homes where parents are absent are frequent party sites

If you need to be out of town, have a friend or relative "live in" while you are away. Indicate, to both the child and the adult, that there should be no parties in your absence.


Plan for children getting home

Parents need to know when to pick up children after the party.



Be aware of the curfew laws in your community. Make certain youth will be home before the city and children's parents' curfew.


Other Ideas

Make time to get acquainted with your children's friends and their parents. If, despite your precautions, things get out of hand, do not hesitate to call your police department for assistance.


Checklist for discussion with your child:

Date of party

Theme of party

Determine how many children will be invited

Time and length of party

Identify who to invite


Party rules

No alcohol allowed

No drugs allowed

No one returns to the party after they leave

Identify parts of the house that are "Off Limits"

Behavior expectations at party

No one leaves the party without the knowledge of the planning parent

Adults will be present and visible during the entire party

Other agreed upon rules

Plan activities

Plan food

Plan decorations

How will neighbors be notified

Plan the order of activities

Preview music for appropriateness

Now you're ready to have a great party!