How to plan a sweet party
A teenager's 16th birthday is an important event in his or her young life. It signifies an important step in the transition from adolescence to adulthood. As a parent, it's important for you to help ensure that your child's "sweet sixteen" party is a memorable one.
Tips for planning the ultimate 16th birthday party
- Talk to your teen. Make sure that you know exactly what kind of birthday party your son or daughter wants (and discuss how it fits with what you want). Surprise parties are fun, but they aren't always the best idea for teenagers. Likewise, you may love party games, but your teen may feel that they are more appropriate for younger kids. Remember, 16 year-olds tend to think of themselves as young adults.
- Set reasonable expectations. Large and lavish 16th birthday parties are all the rage these days, thanks to television shows like MTV's My Super Sweet 16. Chances are that you aren't as wealthy as the parents on these shows (who routinely give their teens expensive sports cars as gifts and hire famous musicians to perform at their parties). Make sure that your child has realistic expectations about how much you can spend on the party.
- Pick a location. Hosting the party in your home is the easiest option, but your teen may prefer a more creative locale (such as a roller-skating rink, movie theater or the beach).
- Compile a guest list. Based on the available space, decide how many friends your child will be allowed to invite. If you don't want a big party, try limiting the guest list to 16 friends.
- Prepare and send invitations. Buy ready-made invitations, or get creative and make your own, incorporating elements of your teen's personal style. For example, the lettering can be in his or her favorite color, and the front can be a favorite design or quote. There are also many great Sweet 16 poems available online that you can print on the cover or inside the invitation. Whether it's funny or sweet, a Sweet 16 poem is a great way to set the tone for the celebration.Be sure to send out the invitations several weeks in advance, and make it clear that no party crashers will be allowed to attend.
- Decide what food will be served. Pizza is always popular with teenagers, but you may be surprised to know that your child and his or her friends are beginning to develop more adult tastes. They may enjoy dining on something more sophisticated. Instead of cans of soda, consider making more "adult" drinks like virgin daiquiris.
- Set some guidelines. Make sure that your child knows what is inappropriate party behavior (e.g., drinking, sex). Let him or her know that you plan to be there for the party, but that you will keep a low profile.
- Don't forget the cake! It's not a birthday unless there's a cake with candles.