Your child has asked if he can throw a party in the family pool for his schoolmates. You’ve been wanting to socialize with the parents of his friends anyway, so this is the perfect opportunity. Some planning will go a long way at this point. Here are 7 steps to take to make sure the pool party goes off without a hitch:
1) Make up a guest list. Have your child make up a list of all the kids he would like to invite. If he forgets a few, or you have some good friends with children you’d like to invite, add them to the list.
2) Send out invitations. For a child’s party, an invitation received in the mail makes it more special. Designate the date and time, and length of the party. Call the parents to gather addresses. At this point, you can diplomatically ask if their child can swim. If some invitees can’t swim, you’ll want to designate a shallow area, so they can enjoy the pool fun.
3) Address the safety issue. When you combine kids and pools, safety has to be addressed. Figure out ahead of time who will be watching the children. Don’t have Dad be assigned the task while he’s trying to watch the grill as well. Since Mom will be acting as hostess, her attention will be divided. Consider hiring one of the lifeguards from the community pool the kids use. He can watch out, is a trained professional, and the kids are used to listening to him.
4) Planning the food. Kids love burgers, and most parents enjoy food from the outdoor grill, so if possible, have Dad fire up the outdoor grill and cook burgers. Have plenty – the kids will be working up an appetite. You might want to have some variety for the parents – some grilled shrimp or chicken – but the kids will love being treated to burgers. Designate a time for the meal, so everyone can sit out of the pool for a while afterward.
5) Party games. If you’ve ever watched a group of kids at a community pool, they’re very creative and ingenious – they make up games that will keep them occupied for hours. In case they run out of steam, have some ideas for them, like “Treasure Hunt,” to get them started again. After the meal, have some games the kids can play in the back yard, like croquet, or have some Frisbees available.
Here are some great resources for everything from pool games to party planning:
The beauty of a pool party is that the pool itself is a wonderful source of entertainment. While the kids may be playing a game, parents may want to lounge around in one part of the pool and visit.
6) Prepare for the sun. Have shaded areas available, especially for the parents. A couple of tables set up under a canopy will allow parents to visit and get to know each other, but still watch the kids in the pool. For the kids, have a table with plenty of sunscreen so they don’t get sunburned. About once an hour, ask the parents to put more sunscreen on if needed.
7) Be a good hostess. Many of the parents might not know each other. Make sure all are introduced, and check occasionally to make sure they feel comfortable and are mingling with others if they choose. You wanted to take the time to get to know the parents of your children’s friends, so this is the time to learn more about them.
Plan the party well ahead of time, and then you can smile as you look around the back yard at the laughter and smiles you see everywhere.
Kaitlin Gardner writes for AnApplePerDay.com. She currently lives in Pennsylvania and is married to her best friend. In her spare time, she loves to go hiking and enjoy nature. She has just started her first book about living an eco-friendly, healthy, natural lifestyle.