Whilst playrooms, for your children at least, are a place of utter joy, filled with…
I love seeing my children enjoying their birthdays each year and I do go to a considerable amount of effort to make that happen. I enjoy the planning, the excitement and the look on their faces when they see what gifts they got.
The one thing I’m not so keen on is … the party.
I’ve thrown a party or gathering of some description for my children every year. For each of their first birthdays we had people round in the afternoon for cake and cuddles, and people would come and go throughout the afternoon. Not what you’d class as a proper ‘party’ really but at one year old I’m not sure they would appreciate one!
Now that the boys are older, I have had the rather stressful experience of hosting birthday parties several times. Since I don’t want you to experience the craziness that is an unorganised party, I have put together a few pointers on how to survive a children’s birthday party.
This is imperative. If you’re having the party in a hall or at a soft play centre, you may need to book early – especially if your child’s birthday is during the colder months. Book well in advance and get the date that works best for you. The same goes for booking any kind of children’s entertainer. If you want a magician or someone to bring along a collection of reptiles for the children to prod, get in touch with them well in advance.
Pack party bags, decorate the house and wrap the prizes the day before the party. Even if you’ve invited people to come in the afternoon, your day will run away with you and guests will be knocking on your door before you know it. Speaking of party bags – don’t overdo them. I’ve had my children bring party bags home with 6 different types of sweets in them. That’s not cheap to do and it’s not great for the kids either. I think one small pack of sweets, a balloon, a slice of birthday cake and a small bottle of bubbles is ample. Having enough space for children to play is also important.
I’ve made the mistake of trying to fit too much into a two hour party full of five year olds. It’s near impossible to fit in face painting, bouncy castle, glitter tattoos, three different games and the presenting of the cake within that time frame without losing your mind. I would say that one ‘featured’ activity such as hiring a bouncy castle, roping your aunt into doing some face painting or forcing your other half to learn the art of balloon modelling is enough. Add a couple of games such as musical statues or pass the parcel and once that’s all done and they’ve trodden sandwiches into your carpet had something to eat, there will be time to sing Happy Birthday, blow out the candles and distribute the party bags. Easy…ish.
Even with the best intentions and the patience of an actual saint, hosting a children’s party is trying at best. Draft in your mum, your friends, parents of the guests – anyone who is willing to help. If someone is keeping an eye on little Freddie who has a penchant for sweets off the buffet table, you won’t need to worry about either a hyperactive Freddie or a vomit-stained carpet.
Having an extra pair of hands available after the guest’s leave is also a very good idea!
No, I don’t mean you should sit them in front of Anna and Elsa. What I mean is don’t obsess about details once the party gets going. If you still haven’t played musical statues or done the cake thing with only ten minutes to home time, it really doesn’t matter. Just sing to the birthday child, blow out the candles and put the prize for the missed game away to fill stockings at Christmas. Where kids are involved, you really do just have to go with the flow.
So, there you go. I’m no expert but I hope you can now go and plan a less stressful birthday party for your little one!
Written by our regular contributor Karen Hannah.
All views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of Room to Grow.