Planning for Children: Ideas for Your Next Catered Event

If you are planning a large event and children are expected to attend, you may want to keep them in mind when setting up meals with your caterer. There are all kinds of ways to ensure that the children are well taken care of, but to guide you in the right direction, here are a few tips and ideas to consider.

1. Request Numbers of Children on the RSVP

So you can prepare for the children who will be attending the event, consider asking for numbers on the RSVP form. To explain, imagine you are planning a wedding, and you send an invitation to Steve and Sheila Smith and family.

So you know how many of their children the Smiths plan to bring, you should include a spot on the RSVP postcard that says something to the effect of "number of children planning to attend" followed by a blank. Then, the guests just jot in a number, and that makes it easier for you to prepare.

2. Consider Doing a Special Kids' Menu

Most sit-down catered events have one or two main options, such as a fish option and a meat option. You may also want to talk with your caterer about adding extra meal options just for kids. As many people have to add gluten-free or vegan options to accommodate their friends, adding an extra kids' option isn't typically that difficult.

3. Offer Simple Dishes on the Buffet

If you are having a catered buffet rather than a sit-down meal, you may want to discuss dishes that are likely to be appealing to children. Children are just as diverse as grownups, and there certainly are children who love gumbo, foie gras, and all kinds of luxurious treats.

However, by and large, many children are still exploring their taste buds, and they often prefer to do that one food at a time. In order to appeal to kids in this category, you may want simple options such as raw vegetables with dip on the side or a grilled chicken breast with the sauce and starch on the side. You may even want to let kids special order a childhood favorite, such as jam sandwiches.

4. Consider a Table of Kids' Treats

To keep kids busy so their parents can enjoy the event, you may also want to consider a table full of treats designed just for the kids. This could be a cupcake table, an ice cream sundae bar where kids get to choose their own toppings, or whatever you like.

Contact a caterer directly for more ideas on planning for children at your next event.