The tweens can be awkward years, especially for parties. They’re too old for princess parties, but too young for completely unsupervised events. But they are at the age where they still want to have parties for their friends that feel a little more grown-up. The question is: how can you help your tween throw a party she’ll be proud of and still keep it safe and age-appropriate?

Host a slumber party

Slumber parties are still in, and they’re perfect for New Year’s Eve. Your tween can invite all her girlfriends for a fun night in. Choose a primary room where they can all hang out that has plenty of floor space for sleeping bags. Let your tween choose several movies for her guests to vote on. And don’t forget the snacks. Line the kitchen counters with bowls of popcorn, M&Ms, and other treats and fill the fridge with sodas and water bottles. Stay out of their way as much as possible, but check in from time to time to make sure they’re following rules.

Let your tween decorate

According to psychologists, your tween is probably feeling a little more independent lately, and letting her decorate for her own party helps her feel a little more in control. You can even let her add a little more flare to her room in the process. After all, she may invite a few kids who have never seen it. You don’t have to go overboard, but allow her to pick out some kid decorative pillows, a couple of new posters, or maybe even some new curtains. Help her feel proud of her space so that she enjoys showing it off.

Host a dinner

For a party with a little more formal feel, consider hiring a caterer and hosting a sit-down, semi-formal meal for your daughter and her friends. You can send out invitations with dress codes, making it as formal as you’d like. But for that age, the best dress is usually “Sunday best” — you don’t want parents to feel like they have to buy something new just for your party. And don’t forget to dress yourself appropriately for the affair. You can make a shopping day of it with your tween the week before the party, or you can even select your attire from online boutiques.

Have a midnight pancake supper

Once the ball has dropped, you can serve your tween and her friends a pancake supper with all the fixings. You can put together a pancake bar with syrup and various toppings: these might include blueberries, nuts, banana slices, chocolate chips, and whipped cream. These toppings can be used on already-cooked pancakes, or you can let the kids hand you a bowl of their selections to add to the batter. Don’t forget to serve plenty of drinks, such as orange juice and milk.

Set up a photo booth

Photo booths are a great way to encourage laughter and fun. And you can also preserve some memories. You can either hire a friend or family member to take the shots or simply leave a camera there for the kids to use. The most fun way to do it is to use an instant camera or print the pics on your color printer at the end of the night. Be sure to include plenty of props and dress-up items, and set up a fun New Year’s Eve backdrop. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Even a plastic party tablecloth pinned to the wall can make a nice background. You can also have a customized banner printed with something like “Amy’s New Year’s Eve Bash 2019,” as an example.

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