Fight for your right to party

Everyone loves a party - right? Or are you secretly dreading your child’s next birthday? Maybe the thought of filling your house with children fills you with fear, or you’re worried how you will keep a room full of children entertained. Or are you feeling the pressure to compete with all your mummy friends who have been posting pics of their children’s amazing party? The good news is, that organising your child’s birthday party, needn’t be stressful and with a bit of careful planning, you and the children can have a great time. Top ten tips for planning the perfect kid’s party Keep it simple This may sound obvious but, with the likes of pinterest, it is easy to get carried away. Your child won’t remember the floor to ceiling hand painted mural you’ve painstakingly created, or the life-sized balloon castle. Set a budget Again, it’s easy to get carried away here and you can end up spending a small fortune, without having a huge amount to show for it. Set a budget early on - and stick to it. It helps to think of the ‘opportunity’ cost when setting a budget. Ask yourself “what else could I do with that amount of money?”. Decide on the venue Hosting a party at home can be a cheap and cheerful option, but you need to consider how many children (and parents) you are inviting and how precious you are about your home. Can you cope with sticky fingers on the cream sofa and chocolate biscuits crushed into the carpet? It can also be quite difficult to get rid of everyone when you hold the party at home. We all have that friend that just won’t leave!! Costs can also creep up and before you know if you’ve spent more than you would have done by hiring a venue. If you’re fortunate to have a summer baby, you can consider an outdoor party. One of the best children’s parties I remember going to, was in the local park, with a pop up gazebo and a picnic.

Village halls and function rooms can be a great option for a child’s party. Children have lots of room to run around. You’ve got access to plenty of tables and chairs and you can organise your own entertainment.

Do you really need a theme? Depending on the age of your child, themes can be really good but they can also add additional stress. Again, the tip here is to keep it simple and not to go OTT. Consider why you want a theme and if you really need one. Food Now, we all want our kids to eat healthily and I’ve been to many parties where there has been an array of fruit and veg. Sadly though, it usually all goes in the bin at the end. Traditional party food such as mini sausages, pizza, crisps, cheese cubes, grapes, party rings (a must) and a few sandwiches always seem to go down well. If you want to jazz things up a little, consider using a biscuit cutter for the sandwiches. Any more adventurous and you’re probably wasting your time (and money). Entertainment So you’ve set a budget and you’ve chosen the venue, now you need to decide how you’re going to keep those little ones entertained for a couple of hours. There’s a plethora of children’s entertainers out there. And if you chose to go down this route, make sure that you do your research. Ideally, get a personal recommendation or ask to see the entertainer in action before you book. And make sure you book early to avoid disappointment. If you’ve opted for your own entertainment, plan out the time carefully. You don’t want to run out of activities before home-time. Also, have a back up plan just in case some activities just don’t work or children lose interest. It can be good idea to ask friends or family to be responsible for different activities, so that all the responsibility doesn’t fall to you. Party bags Party bags are a bit of a bugbear of mine. All too often I find the content just ends up in the bin and there is a limit to the amount of coloured pencils you need. Kids love to receive this little bag at the end of a party, so I’m not suggesting doing away with it. You just need to think carefully about the contents. Recently my daughter received a party bag with some hair bobbles in - always useful! Decide who to invite Make it clear who you are inviting and if parents are expected to stay - I’ve had even the youngest of children left at a party before! If siblings are invited, let parents know. Be clear from the start who you are catering for so as not to avoid confusion or upset. Timing There’s nothing worse than sending out your invitations only to have everyone decline because the party clashes with nap times, swimming lessons, someone else’s party etc. Think carefully about the timing and try and avoid clashes where possible. Remember though -you’re never going to please everyone Tidying up Whether you’ve decided to hold your party at home or at a venue, think about tidying up. Where possible use disposable plates and cups (ideally recyclable). Make sure you have some large black bin bags and kitchen role (there will be spillages). Don’t be afraid to ask parents and family to help with the clearing up. I’m sure you’ll get to repay the favour at some point. And if it all seems like too much to think about, why not let us take the headache out of it.

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