Five fun party ideas for tweens

By: Bernice Maune

Tweens love to stand out from the crowd and the best way to have them become the talk of the town is by throwing a super cool birthday party.

Make your tween’s next party a fun and exciting celebration which will keep them entertained and with loads of memories to look back on.

Be creative and customise our list of awesome party ideas by incorporating your tween’s favourite superhero or cartoon character. Add their favourite colour or make it a secretive affair by leaving clues all over the house for your tween to decode what type of party they will have.

Just remember to think fun and your tween will be the talk of his class for having hosted an original party.

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Here’s our list of interactive party ideas for tweens

Country theme

Ask your child to pick a country on a map. If they pick the North Pole for example, that can be the theme of the party. This works especially well if your child was born in winter. They can ask guests to dress up as snowmen and wear furry coats, boots and jackets. Create a winter wonderland theme for them and their own personal igloo using a tent. Go crazy with this theme and have your tween and friends play fishing games as if they have to hunt for their own food.

Talent contest theme

Have a talent contest as the theme of a party. Get your tween to ask their friends to showcase their talent and come prepared to perform on a set-up stage. There can be a judging panel who will score each contestant just like on Idols. Prepare prizes and go glam with a red carpet, mics and photographer to capture every exciting yet special moment.

Mai tai or Karate theme

Set your child’s party up in a gym or karate class. Arrange karate outfits for everyone together with different coloured belts. Set-up a self-defence class for party attendees so that they can learn how to defend themselves while having fun.

Spa day

Host the birthday party at a spa where all the guests will receive a massage and full on pampering session. This is perfect for a group of girls who want to bond and chat over manicures and pedicures.

Adventure galore

Schedule a ziplining tour and request the guests to wear overalls and hard hats. The tour can feature a surprise at each stop and treats for everyone as a reward for completing each tour. Just ensure to add safety precautions or ask each child to sign an indemnity form though zipline tours are generally safe and child friendly.

Planning a party for your child doesn’t have to be a bore or a tedious process. Include your someone who really knows your tween well like a friend from school if you are planning a surprise party or ask them to expand on the suggestions above if they would like to be involved.

Supporting your tween through disappointment

By: Bernice Maune

Your tween is at a stage in their lives where they are eager to impress at school and at home.

Create a healthy environment where they can ‘fail forward’ and retain their confidence through disappointments which are a normal part of life.

We’ve come up with several suggestions which can foster a balanced environment for your tween while helping them to work through life’s disappointments.

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Communication is vital

Talk to your tween about a failure they have experienced and allow them to give you the details. If you sense they may be holding back, don’t pester them to share. Instead speak in an understanding tone and hear them out. Limit questions and prompt them to speak by listening and acknowledging their disappointments.

All a part of life

Tell your tween that disappointments are a part of life and not achieving a high grade or not getting picked for the netball team is not the end of the world. By getting them to understand that timing is important and sometimes another person has achieved or has access to what they want at a certain time, this will show them that they can always try again and teaches them that they too can be happy for others.

Turning setbacks into comebacks

Your tween can turn a setback into a comeback by taking a lesson from a failed experience and using that to become better. Have they lost a friend? Tell them that this is the perfect opportunity to make new friends. Or it could be a chance for them to learn a new skill and make new friends while at it. The key is to show them how to find a lesson in a setback that they can use to propel themselves forward.

Losing doesn’t have to be sore

If your child is disappointed after losing a match or game at school then this is the perfect opportunity to lift their spirits and help them find the silver lining. Take them out for ice-cream and make a joke about the game. Highlight their strengths and focus on how well they did. Not only is that an opportunity to bond but you are also teaching them that they don’t have to be a sore loser and can find ways to cope and make themselves feel better after a disappointment.

Being happy for others

Talk to your teen about their disappointment and if it involved losing out to another child, speak to them about how they are feeling. The aim is to urge them to be healthy competitors and to explore their feelings before they turn bitter. This also helps them to be happy for other people’s wins even if it may be at a loss to themselves.

Not making a big deal out of disappointments

Approaching disappointments positively also entails not focusing on the disappointment in itself but looking at how it can improve one’s skills. Teach your child that since disappointments are a natural way of life and are bound to happen they can choose how to react to each one. Blowing a disappointment out of proportion will lead to them feeling bad while looking at it strategically with an ‘I’ll do better next time attitude’ will enable them to cope in future.

Disappointment can be hard for tweens to deal with but as their parent you can make it easier for them by being there and guiding them each step of the way.

This is how you can keep your tween entertained during trips

With school holidays coming up, your tween may be looking forward to going on holiday. You on the other hand may be a little less excited about the trip down to the coast or road trip to your parent’s house.

The best way to make things less complicated is to keep your tween entertained and busy during the trip. When travelling by car, make a list of activities that the whole family can participate in.

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Include activities like general knowledge which won’t distract the driver as everyone participates by verbally responding to questions. You can also use the time to find out how the school term was and ask your tween to give everyone a breakdown of their favourite subjects and how they plan to better them the next term.

Load your tablet and phone with tween friendly apps so that your child can play games during the trip. Look at games and apps which have a strong educational focus which will encourage them to continue learning even while they are away from the classroom.

Load series on a laptop of their favourite cartoon or show to spoil them with several episodes they can watch along the way.

Stock up on puzzles and mini board games like snakes and ladders which are easy to assemble and put together whether travelling by car, train or plane.

Challenge your tween to read an intriguing book series like Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings, preferably a book which you have also read so that you can quiz each other on the plot and characters.

Bring a Kindle along and load educational material which will stimulate their mind and keep the busy during travel periods.

Tip: Stock up on healthy snacks such as fresh and dried fruit, pretzels, nuts, bottled water and yoghurt to keep your tween’s energy levels balanced and his mind alert during the trip.

Watch how to keep your kids entertained during travel

Your kid wants to manage their own social media accounts, here’s what you can do

By: Bernice Maune

These days it has become popular for kids to have their own Facebook accounts, and you may even know of one or two babies and toddlers who have their own social media accounts opened by their parents.

So what happens when your tween starts showing an interest in not only owning but managing their own social media account? They might have their own cellphone which has internet access and at school they could be exposed to friends who are on social media.

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Some pupils even form groups on Facebook and Whatsapp and discuss school projects or plan sport and social activities. It is becoming increasingly popular for parents to allow their children to have social media accounts but closely monitor these. However, some parents are not comfortable with their children having access to Facebook and the unregulated content which can appear there. There may be realistic concerns of safety and communication between adults and younger children which could lead to compromising situations.

We’ve compiled a ten step process which you can follow in case your tween begins the conversation on having access to social media

Step 1

Ask your child why they want to have social media. Ask them to explain what purpose it will serve and if they have exhausted all other options before settling on social media.

Step 2

Find out which social media accounts they want to use.

Step 3

Have a discussion with them on the pros and cons of having social media at their age and explain what your concerns are. Use real life examples of tweens who have been lured into meeting strangers through social media and focus on the dangers of having premature access to social media.

Step 4

Be open minded to hearing your child’s reasons. Instead of enforcing your decisions on them, hear them out and approach the conversation rationally and logically.

Step 5

Highlight the use of data and the upkeep of having a social media enabled phone. Talk about the costs associated with this and the responsibility.

Step 6

Communicate to your tween that you will think about their proposition.

Step 7

Once you have made your decision, communicate this in the form of a list of pros and cons, taking your time to motivate each so your tween understands.

Step 8

If your decision was no, propose reconsidering having them handle their own social media account when they grow a bit older. Give them a timeline if they ask for one.

Step 9

If you do allow them to have a social media account, set rules and responsibilities which may include monitoring their cellphone activities, buying a set rate of data and having their passwords to check on the communication exchanged through the accounts.


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