Hints & Tips
Booking a good entertainer will make your party special and memorable for your guests.
I hope you find my tips useful.
Do plan well ahead who you wish to invite, the type of party you want, and details of the food. It is most important not to invite more children than you can easily cope with, or have room for – it spells disaster to have a packed house you cannot control, and it is just as important not to mix the age groups. Your two-year old may get on well at home with your six-year old, but at a party you cannot mix the age groups two through seven without problems.
Confine the party to those within a year of two of the birthday child’s age, and don’t give in on the doorstep when two-year old William arrives with six-year old Emma, and looks as if he wants to stay.
It’s also quite unnecessary for mum to stay because six-year old Jane looks tearful on arrival. After all, they don’t stay at playgroup or school, and the children survive. I often find that the child who arrives looking lost and tearful turns out to be the one who needs most control after a short while.
Far too many children’s parties are spoilt by going on for too long. Experience has shown that two hours is the ideal time needed for a really good party for children in the four to ten-year old range.
Food should be a simple affair without too much choice, frills or ceremony. Whatever we adults like to think, our children, on the whole, are not sophisticated, nor do they have educated tastes in food. I have seen the most expensive foods ignored or wasted, while the crisps, Hula Hoops and Monster Munch have been devoured.
Sandwiches, on the whole, are also a dismal failure, and there is a great tendency for small children to be over supplied with fizzy drinks, often resulting in a nasty mess from one or both ends to be cleared up.
If you have an oven available to you (some halls for example don’t) then consider giving the children hot dogs, pizza’s, burgers, chips etc These always go down well, and it is good for children to eat something hot if possible, especially if it is a lunchtime party. If you are using an oven, even if it is your own oven, turn it on as early as you can, and leave more time to cook food than you think you might need. Most hall ovens are underpowered, and take longer to cook food. Don’t forget to take oven trays of your own if you are cooking food, do not expect them to be available at the venue.
Buying food from a fast food restaurant can be a very stressful experience. The food is never ready when you go to collect it, traffic can slow down delivery, and it can bring your whole party to a standstill while everyone waits for the food. On the other hand, if it is ready early, then you will find it is cold when the children are ready to eat.
Plan on the food taking around 30 minutes for approximately 20 children. This will include time for the food to be eaten, “Happy Birthday” to be sung, the cake to be cut, and the children to go to the toilet and wash their hands.
Fancy dress parties are fun for the older children, but not so with the younger group. Many of the costumes worn at fancy dress parties are home-made, and in a lot of cases impractical and sometimes dangerous. There are always those who cannot see, cannot eat, cannot sit, and cannot stand, together with those who have sharp sticks, bows and arrows, knives, and plastic bags over their heads. Again, why not try the professionals if you want costumes?
In recent times there has been a tendency to have video parties at home, or visits to hamburger houses for children’s parties. In my opinion neither is a great idea, as the first is like watching television all afternoon, and the second is tiresome for parents. Getting umpteen children to a place usually situated in the centre of town is not easy, especially if there are parking problems. Then finding that the children do not eat the goodies provided is not much fun.