There’s nothing worse than receiving a declined RSVP from someone you really want at your party simply because they have to stay home with the kids. Most times, child care issues are just as disappointing for the person missing the mystery party as they are for the host or hostess. Babysitters are expensive, and if you have a family that’s relatively new in town who aren’t settled yet with babysitters and have no family to rely on, the only answer they can give is “not attending”.

But there are a few things a host can do to not only solve these problems for guests, but also make things easier for your other guests with kids. Working kid-friendly options into your overall party plan is a quick and easy solution, and something that will really stand out as one of those details you, as a really great host, tend to before your party. Here are some ways to do it without taking too much time away from the rest of your party planning.

1. Have a kids’ party in conjunction with your party

If the majority of your guests have kids, the obvious answer is to stage a kids’ party at the same time as the adult party. Hire or bribe an older, qualified kid to “babysit” the kids party in the basement while the adults have fun upstairs. If your party is in an event space, see if there’s a separate area you could use for the kids’ party. If you’re holding a murder mystery (ESPECIALLY one with a theme that requires costumes), find some games ahead of time that are along the theme, and allow the kids to come dressed up as well. Let’s say you’re playing The Masquerade Murder or The Pirates Revenge murder mystery games. Kids LOVE to dress up, and would enjoy an evening of masquerade or pirate costumes as well. Alternatively, you can select a kid-friendly mystery party from our catalogue of kids’ mystery games, and set them up to play a mystery themselves in another section of the house.

We all know what our kids can be like though… one minute your the mysterious Ravenna Berkley, sweeping through the Reading Room of the Biblioteca Marciana in Venice in your ball gown, investigating the murder, and then next moment your son is tugging on your dress with the urgent news that so-and-so took the car he was playing with. For this reason (and here we absolve you of all guilt), many hosts and decide to make their party child-free.

2. Provide your guests a list of babysitters, with phone numbers

If you want an evening just for the adults, you never want to say on the invitation “No Kids” – it just seems rude. Instead, include a note on the invitation that reads, “I hope you won’t have any trouble finding a sitter for the evening”, and include a few names and numbers of babysitters you regularly use and trust. If you have teens who have achieved all the qualifications and have friends that have done the same, a wonderful thing to do is mention, “My daughter Kayla is a very responsible babysitter and has her license, as do a number of her friends. If you don’t have a regular babysitter, please let me know”. From there, give your babysitter the opportunity to arrange the sitters a la The Babysitter Club (remember that series of books?)

3. Get them involved in the mystery

When there will only be one or two kids, many hosts want to have them participate but worry about limited attention spans and that famous childhood boredom setting in. There are always things kids can do in a mystery party scenario to get them involved without having them take on a character themselves, and without worry that they will lose interest after a few minutes. Many adult “murder” mysteries are written “Clean” (no sex or drug references, and all of our mystery kits contain no foul language). For more tips on how to get kids involved in your mystery without assigning them a character, follow the link below.

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