Posted in Winning at Parenting

The Guide to Not Having a Stressful Overwhelming Children’s Party!

Amongst my talents I site party host as one of them. Having a dance school, dance parties was another thing I could offer and make an additional wage from. But if was to think it would be an easy number I would sadly be wrong. Parties are HARD WORK. You have the birthday child plus usually around about 25 more friends. Plus parents, aunties, uncles and grandparents. Time and time again I turn up to parties and within the first 15 minutes the birthday child is overwhelmed. I see tears and tantrums galore. I thought I would put together a little guide to not having a stressful overwhelming party!

INVITES

Gone are the days of written invites… if they are given out they rarely make it home, left in the depths of the school bag or lost in the class room. These days save the stress and email or use Facebook or text to send invites. Another bonus to this is if you aren’t inviting the whole class children who aren’t invited will be left unaware. See below for more on this…

NUMBERS

You might not want to leave people out but such is life… this is a lesson you will learn away so why not start young? Inviting the whole class plus cousins and neighbors etc is going to make for a stressful party. Is your child really close to everyone of those children? The more children the more noise, the less 1:1 attention on your child and a million other kids all vying for the party hosts attention. I’ve done parties for 30+ and it’s wild! I try to encourage people to stop at 20 by charging per head over. Honestly when I do a party for around 18 children I feel like every one of those kids has had a lovely time. The birthday child has been spoiled with attention, isn’t that what you want?

NOISE

A party is noisey… like really noisey. Parents like to chat, it’s a social gathering for them too. They stand about filling each other in on what’s going on in their lives totally oblivious to the party. For the host the noise is sometimes unmanageable. Trying to keep 20+ kids attention over the nattering of all those parents and relatives can be exhausting. Tip: If your renting a room that allows it set chairs out at one end. You party host can work from the other. Do not let the parents stand and chat round the edges… or worse still in the middle of the room. This interferes with the party space and again keeping the kids focused.

CAKE

I see these elaborate cakes time and time again go to waste… it seems many kids don’t even like icing… picking it off! Cakes are for show, I get it. But if your moaning about the cost of your party get the cake from a local supermarket – kids don’t care as long as it has something on they like! Also I’ve seen parents have a birthday cake but not cut it up, this is because they already bought another cake and have it ready in the party bags – genius! No frantic cake cutting at the end and you get to keep the main cake for family and close friends.

FOOD

Platters of food are a waste! Sandwiches get left in favour of goodies. With platters you over cater. The best parties I’ve been to either have hot dogs, pizzas, chips or crisps – easy! If you want to add something healthier cucumber and carrot sticks all the way, these seem to go down well. Alternatively you can buy a cardboard lunch box (like a happy meal box) add a sandwich, maybe some mini sausages, bag of crisis, veg sticks, cake or biscuit. This way you don’t over cater as you have a box for each child.

ENTERTAINMENT

This is what will cost you the most so choose wisely. There are an array of options out there and a great party host that keeps the kids engaged will massively reduce your stress. That said just because your child loves to dance it won’t mean every other child wants to learn a dance. Some may sit out and that’s okay. Games will usually pull all children in so make sure you ask your party host for those to be included.

GAMES

If you are braving doing a party yourself my advice on games is KEEP IT SIMPLE. Traditional party games have died a bit of a death in recent years in favour of more elaborate party themes. But honestly if you child is up to 7 years old in my opinion they still go down a storm. Get the music right and musical bumps, statues, pass the parcel are still firm favourites. I often see piñatas at parties too now which are fun but again if your having a party with 25+ put older kids at the back so they leather the hell out of it last. I’ve seen many teary tantrums when not all party goers have had a go before the sweets have rained down. Also the Hokey Cokey is great to finish on with up to 7yrs. It still raises lots of smiles and laughs as they charge at each other but be sure to have a few adults help hold the circle together and keep them from getting too wild. Limbo always seems to be the highlight at parties I host, kids all ages absolutely love it!

PARTY BAGS

I still watch parents try to hide their reaction as they recoil in horror when their child is handed a party cone or bag FULL of sweets. We live in a world now where parents are seemingly more conscious of what there kids are consuming. Many kids have gluten and dairy allergies too. Check before hand if any of them do. Keep party bags simple – bouncy ball, bubbles, a few chocolate coins, mini bag of haribo and the birthday cake is plenty.

I would like to finish by saying I have made many birthday party mistakes with my 10 year old son. I have been the queen of stressful parties at times! Striving for perfection… we all know where kids are concerned there is no such thing. I hope my guide saves you from party stress, but if it doesn’t… there’s always wine! 😉

Rachael x