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Ultimate Guide to Hosting a Kid-Friendly Dinner Party

Ultimate guide to hosting a kid-friendly dinner party

Planning an enjoyable sit-down meal when wee ones are on the guest list may seem like a formidable task, but nothing could be simpler. We share survival tips on how to make sure both adults and kids have a fun and memorable evening.


Include the children in your planning

A little preparation goes a long way in ensuring the success of any occasion.

  • Take the children's schedules into account when setting the time for your party. Children can get cranky as the evening wears on.
  • Invite an adult who is popular with children to see to their needs during the evening. As your guests arrive, explain to their children that this person will be their special host.
  • Set some ground rules and share these with the adult who will be looking after the children. Be clear about which rooms are out of bounds, for instance.
  • Remind guests with children under 2 years old to bring along items you may not have such as a high chair, bibs, children’s dishes or cups.
  • If the celebration will be running later into the evening, set aside a quiet and safe spot where children can sleep.

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Keep the children's menu simple

The evening will be a success among youngsters if you first ask their parents what they typically like. Finger food or mini dishes usually work best — two savoury options and one or two sweet dishes — and make sure there is plenty of juice, water and milk to drink. Remember not to make a fuss over whether they eat everything on their plate; they might be too excited to be hungry!

Mini-pizzas

Cookies - favourite foods to serve kids

Here are some favourite foods to serve kids:

  • Raw vegetables and dips
  • Mini-pizzas
  • Fish or chicken nuggets with assorted sauces (plum, sweet and sour or barbecue)
  • Mini-tourtières
  • Mini-quiches
  • Snacks (chips, popcorn, pretzels, etc.)
  • Cookies
  • Brownies
  • Sliced fresh fruit

Time management

Let the children eat while the parents enjoy an aperitif. Once the children are no longer hungry, give them each a little surprise gift before the grown-ups sit down to dinner; children will amuse themselves while the adults eat.

Is it necessary to have a special table for the kids?

  • Kids under 5 or 6 years old should have a separate eating place. It is more fun for them and it makes them feel special. The adult looking after them can help them get organized and see to their needs.
  • Kids between 7 to 12 years of age are more independent, so may prefer to sit together in an eating space of their own. You may want to ask them ahead of time.
  • Remember that no matter how entertaining and attractive you make their table, children will move about during their meal simply to listen to the conversation among the adults and to see their parents.
  • Opt for paper plates, cups and napkins for kids. Use a cotton tablecloth that washes well.
  • Put a wastebasket near the table to avoid going back and forth too often.

Games, games and more games

  • If the children don't readily entertain themselves, make sure you have activities planned and suggest these in quieter moments when they may be looking for something to do.
  • Get them to go on a treasure hunt, draw and play board games.
  • Add a special touch to the event by offering them loot bags or a piñata to break.
  • When all activities have been exhausted, put on a kid-friendly DVD.


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