Your kid’s first few birthdays are a piece of cake; (pun intended) a mellow gathering with the family, one little song, and then a lot of chatting and coffee. However, once they get a little older and more social, they’ll want to have a real birthday party just like their friends. If you’ve never had to organise a child’s birthday party before, you may be feeling pretty lost. Here are a few essential do’s and don’ts of throwing a kid’s party.
– Keep it short:
Knowing when home time should be is key to throwing a good party for your tot. For most three to five year olds, two to three hours is plenty for a party, especially if your little one is prone to going crazy in short bursts of energy and then falling asleep wherever they happen to be! The time of day is also important; first thing after lunch generally works well with most toddlers’ napping schedules. The last thing you want is a garden full of cranky, drowsy children, so make sure you get all the fun and games within a manageable time frame!
– Get your child’s input:
Of course, you should make the big decisions like where and when yourself, but if you want your kid to have a great time, be sure to get some of their input. This will let them know what to expect, and give them some sense of control and ownership over their big day. Most kids will be able to name a favourite cartoon to help you decide on a theme when you’re looking into games, plates, decorations, bouncy castle hire and so on. The kind of cake you get is another thing you should let your child weigh in on. You should also get their input when you’re picking out invitations, and help them decorate it.
– Say yes to help:
You may want to maintain full control of the party, but if you don’t have all the help you could possibly need, you’re probably going to regret it on the big day!
– Leave parents guessing:
When you’re making up those invites, be specific about when the party will start and end, whether or not you’re serving lunch (especially if the timing allows room for confusion) and whether the parents are expected to stay. Make the policy about presents clear as well. If your kid has enough toys, and you’re trying to nurture a less materialistic attitude, then spell it out saying “your presence is presents enough”. Otherwise, parents will assume they should bring something. If you get mixed results, it can be extremely awkward!
– Feel you have to play host:
Obviously, the host in you will want to make sure any parents in attendance have a good time, as well as their kids. However, no one’s expecting you to cater for them, and you should put the little ones first at your child’s birthday. Leave a few snacks out for the parents and offer some drinks, but otherwise, you’ll be fine leaving them to their own devices.