Bring together groups of parents and kids.
I dread my daughter’s birthday parties. Not as much anymore, since she’s at an age where I don’t have to stay, but when she was 5? It was the worst. I tend to fall on the shy & introverted side, so going to a party where I didn’t know anyone except my daughter was extremely awkward for me.
You know how it goes. The kids, who all know each other and if they don’t, don’t yet have the social awareness to care, run around on an indoor playground or roll bowling balls that are as heavy as they are, while the parents stand in the background, arms folded, not quite sure what to do with themselves. If you’re lucky, you know the other parents. But many don’t know anyone.
When I used to go to those parties, I wanted to bowl with the kids. I wanted to spend time with my daughter and her friends. I even wanted to get to know her friends’ parents, but didn’t really know what to talk about and had difficulty starting a conversation.
There are venues where the kids play and the adults drink. It’s a step in the right direction, but it separates the kids and parents, rather than bring them together.
However, if my daughter got an invitation from one of her friends that announced that the party was going to consist of a tournament of parents vs. kids, now I start to get interested and maybe even want to go. The difference in this situation is that I would get to spend time with my daughter, get to know her friends, and get to know her friends’ parents. We’re all so busy that having friends outside of work can be a chore. I’d love to have a way to get to know the other parents without it having to be such high pressure small talk. Give us an activity to do together, and we’ll be throwing birthday parties for our kids at that venue and maybe even looking for occasions outside of birthday parties to get together.