Planning a children's party? Follow these top tips...
When my son turned six last week we didn’t have a party, given our situation my ex felt it wasn’t appropriate and anyway the class hadn’t had big parties this year and we didn’t have to pay any back. It is a sad reflection on society when parents start to use their children’s birthdays as a way of showing off or getting one over on the Joneses.
In the past twenty years I have done thousands of children’s parties from castles to council houses. I remember a seven-year-old having 25 friends attend a party at the Kensington Hilton where I entertained the children and the parents ate a £75 a head finger buffet with champagne. I have also done low-key celebrity children’s parties in village halls and garden parties in a marquee (not as expensive as you think through capmarquees.com). I've also seen parents spend hundreds they can’t afford trying to impress.
For me, a well organised party is better and often cost effective, as a children’s entertainer I have often been asked why I charge for what I do, last year they only paid so much but the party entertainer was not very good. With entertainment you often pay for what you get but if you are prepared to put in a bit of time you can have a great party but with little expense.
I have often been asked what my top tips are and thought I should share a few.
- No plan survives the first contact with the enemy!
No matter how well you plan, something will throw you off plan, don’t worry and go with the flow, often parents get stressed because they have a plan and aren’t prepared for the what ifs. Have a few fixed points, when you will start the party, have food, do the cake and give out party bags.
- Have a nice cake but don’t try and cut it up at a party to go in party bags
Often it is easier and cheaper to get a tray bake form the supermarket and cut it up before the party, wrap it and put it in party bags. You can then save the party cake for the family, and it is far less stressful.
- If you are booking an entertainer - have them at the end of the party, after food
Children will be more docile after food, sit them down for the entertainer and then at the end of the show children can say thank you and leave. It also gives you a nice 45 – 60 mins to tidy up and relax and take photos.
- Do active games first
Children love to run around and if having the party in a hall let them until you have the majority of children there and start off with active games. Don’t eliminate people, involve everyone and get rid of the energy.
- Have set roles
If you have friends helping then have set roles for people e.g someone doing photos, someone organising the food, someone doing the games, one parent meeting and greeting and getting contact numbers.
- DON’T open presents at the party
Have a table for presents and agree with your child before the party that presents will be opened after the party. If presents are opened things can get lost and children get distracted.
- Party bags and boxes
If you can afford them use party boxes for the food, it's cheaper in the long run and you can put all the things you want them to eat inside like fruit, tomatoes, sausages and sandwiches and then after 10 mins bring out the stuff you know they will eat like chocolate fingers and party rings. This also allows you to cater for any specific dietary needs. There are plenty of fun bags and boxes out there for kids' parties – order yours in advance from a specialist online shop like Tabetha's Touch, which can also personalise them for you.
- Contact Number
Most parents will have a mobile number and they will leave it for contact if there is a problem at the party. It is a great idea to take a photos of their child at the party and send a thank you text, or you can save time by putting thank you for coming to my party notes in party bags.
These are just a few tips I thought I might share, and if you have a party query let me know and I can address them in a future blog.
Till next week, enjoy.