Birthday parties & sleepovers

At a Glance: Common Party Pitfalls for Grade-Schoolers With Learning and Attention Issues

By Lexi Walters Wright

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Birthday parties are supposed to be fun. But the loud music, unfamiliar people and overall commotion can make some kids in grade school want to head home. Read about party pitfalls and how to avoid them.

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At a Glance: Common Party Pitfalls for Grade-Schoolers

Grade-schoolers with learning and attention issues may look forward to birthday parties but be anxious about attending them. These events can be less stressful if you prepare your child for these common party pitfalls.

Interacting with other kids can be scary.
Why it’s problematic: Your child may nd it scary to talk to party guests she doesn’t know if she has trouble with language skills. Even if she knows everyone, she may worry about saying the wrong thing.
What you can do: Role-play with your child how to start a conversation with someone she doesn’t know. Brainstorm topics she might talk about with new acquaintances, classmates and kids on her soccer team. It’s also a good idea to practice how to greet the birthday child.

There’s too much going on!
Why it’s problematic: Loud music is playing. Kids are running around, playing a game of freeze-tag. Your child can’t tell what the other kids are shouting. She may find the commotion overwhelming.
What you can do: Before the party, talk to the hosts about what will go on. Then tell your child. She may decide in advance whether she wants to play. It can also help to know how many rounds of games there will be until things calm down at cake time.

Everything is unfamiliar.
Why it’s problematic: If your child thrives on routine, it may feel unsettling to not know the adults in charge or where to find the bathroom, for example. If she’s particular about what she eats, she may be anxious about the party food.
What you can do: Fuel up on favorite foods beforehand so she doesn’t get too hungry. When you arrive with your child, look together for all the things she might need. Introduce her to a go-to adult. If you can, stay at the party until she’s comfortable.
Graphic of Helping your Gradeschooler Avoid Party Pitfalls
Graphic of Helping your Gradeschooler Avoid Party Pitfalls

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About the Author

Portrait of Lexi Walters Wright

Lexi Walters Wright

A veteran writer and editor for parenting magazines and websites, Lexi Walters Wright has a master’s degree in library and information science and is proud to serve families at

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Reviewed by Sheldon H. Horowitz, Ed.D. Apr 28, 2014 Apr 28, 2014

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