Your six year old has been invited to a birthday lunch again. But this time it is different. Because for the first time the invite is only for them and no accompanying adults have been mentioned. This will be the first time they will have a meal outside without your cautious presence. While you marvel at how fast they have grown, there is also a nagging concern about things going smoothly.
A few precautionary steps will ensure that the lunch is a pleasant and enjoyable experience for both your child and the hosting family.
- Do not be afraid to let go: A six year old is old enough to express themselves. So do not be afraid that they will feel neglected and intimidated. Rather focus on teaching them the right words to use in case they need to request the hostess for something. But do not refuse the invite.
- Gather information: If you do not know the host family well, maybe it is time to give them a call. Find out what their plans are. Whether it is house party or they would be taking the children someplace outside. Prepare your child for it. Take them through the plan so that they are prepared. If they are supposed to go someplace outside your child might be nervous about going with them without you.
- Teach some eating etiquettes: Teach them basic table manners like not to spill food, to take only what they are going to finish and not waste and to ask politely for seconds.
- Keep the host informed: If your child has any food allergies or there are certain foods items you would want your child to avoid, then keep the host family informed.
- Inform them about safety rules: Introduce your child to the host parents. Tell your child that in the absence of parents, the adults supervising the party are in charge. They should keep them informed of their needs. Do not leave for the restroom or wander anywhere else without their consent. Not to speak or make conversation with adults who are unfamiliar. Even if the party is at home.
- Prepare for a little anxiety: Make sure your child understands that you consider them old enough and responsible enough to do this on their own. In spite of all your preparation be prepared for some anxiety shown by your child as you leave. Do not read too much to it. Give them a cheerful wave and remind them to have a good time with friends.
Do not worry too much about what the families of the other children are doing. Go with your instinct and trust your child and your decisions.