In theory it’s easy: planning a child’s party. But when you get started it can eventually feel like you’re spinning plates from each fingertip. By the time it’s all over – and the last party guest has been waved off – you’re exhausted. Many parents will give you that sympathetic half grin when you tell them you’re having your child’s party at home. Shrug it off and follow these five tips – you’ll be the one baring the wide smug grin.
These simple tips are drawn from my own personal experiences of organising my children’s parties at home:
1. Write a party plan (or use ours here)
Yep this may seem obvious, but most parents tend to put a list together of the party food and the guests. Take a few extra minutes to create a party plan, it will keep you on top of everything. The typical child’s party last around 1.5 and 2.5 hours, so your party plan needs to highlight each activity that will take place during these times. If you have more than a handful of kids in one space they will run riot if there’s no structured plan in place. Use our handy party planner here.
2. Dietary requirements
When writing the party invites ask for dietary requirements. In the invites list the food that will be served at the party, this will save later frustrations. It’s likely that parents will offer to bring a meal if their child is unable to eat what is being served. Children with dietary requirements are generally fine with this, and often you’ll be able to give them a few goodies from the main party food served. For example, one child at my daughter’s party was gluten intolerant. I was making pizzas and salad for everyone so the child’s mother brought a packed meal to the party, but her daughter was also able to tuck into the salads severed for everyone.
3. Keep it simple
From decorating, to party games, activities and food – the key to all-round success is to keep it simple. Enchanting, exciting and fun doesn’t need to be overly excessive. Don’t put yourself under great pressure to deliver the very best. Children find magic, beauty and delight in the simplest things. Put energy and thought into activities to keep little people entertained!
4. Prepare for collection
At the start of the party when the young guests arrive, you should already be thinking of their farewells. It takes only a few minutes, but when they arrive line up all their shoes and any other belongings together by the front door. Doing this means that when the traffic of parents arrive to collect them they can easily gather their child’s belongings without any major search operations. Have the party bags ready and placed near the front door. I place mine on the entrance hall chest so they can grab it on the way out once they’ve got all their belongings together.
5. Blow the candles at the bitter end
If you have a birthday cake with candles, then plan the singing and candle blowing five to 10 minutes before parents are due to arrive. This ensures all the children are together when their parents arrive – a perfect finish to a perfect party. If you place party cake in each party bag, then this gives you enough time to do that. I usually have a cake stand with cup cakes which I then pop into each party bag after the candles have been blown. It’s quicker and less messier than cutting up a birthday cake. If you have a party cake too, then this can be shared with family after the party.