Birthday parties are events that children look forward to throughout the year. These celebrations feature many of a child's favorite things: active playtime, special treats, presents, and time with friends.
Planning a birthday party for your child can be stressful, and this is especially true if one of your child's close friends has special needs. Keep the following tips in mind to help ensure your special needs guest feels included in your child's birthday celebration.
Select the venue with mobility in mind.
Many children with special needs have mobility issues that can make it difficult to comfortably participate in traditional birthday activities. This doesn't mean that you have to exclude active tasks from your party list, and it doesn't mean the special needs guest has to sit out certain activities.
Select the venue for your child's party with mobility in mind. Opt for a park with a paved area where children in a wheelchair or with a walker can move around more easily. The right venue will help ensure that all party guests have fun engaging in physical activities during your child's birthday celebration.
Ask parents to stay at the party.
Instead of limiting your guest list to just kids, you should extend an invitation to all parents a well. A child with special needs could have a meltdown or require assistance at any time. Having a parent available to help you care for the special needs guest will relieve some of your stress and ensure the safety of the child.
By inviting all parents to stay for the duration of the party, you can ensure that your child's special needs friend doesn't feel awkward having his or her parents at the event.
Offer non-food treats.
You can certainly have a special cake and some ice cream at your child's birthday party, but you should also offer non-food treats when special needs guests are in attendance. A special needs child might be on medications that limit the types of foods they can eat.
Some children (with or without special needs) may have food allergies that prevent them from partaking of traditional birthday snacks. By having non-food treats like small toys, pencils, or books available you ensure that all your party guests receive something special they can safely enjoy.
Including all your child's friends in his or her birthday celebration will help make each birthday special. A little extra planning will help ensure that a special needs friend can safely and comfortably attend your child's birthday parties in the future.