Children's parties often fill parents with terror and they really shouldn't. At Mrs Fox’s we are professional children’s party planners and have come up with 3 rules for parents throwing parties for their young children. They may not be foolproof, but give them a go...
Don’t try and be perfect - the kids don’t care about perfection, why should you?
The first thing I think any parent should do is to try remembering what it was like to be a young child. Ok the brands have changed and there are a few things you simply didn't have like multi-channel TV, and iPads but childhood is not so different. A birthday party is you making great memories for your child.
Kids love parties. They love that it is their special day. Kids love parties in halls, kids love parties at home. Kids love telling their friends they can come to their party and giving out the invitations. Kids love party food. They love party games, they love to win treats. Kids love to get hot and sweaty and shout at the tops of their voices. Kids love balloons. (And then some kids hate balloons). Nothing on this list is any different to the parties of my childhood.
Don’t worry if you don’t have the perfect place settings and the perfect decorations. Make some of it yourselves and have your child help you. And the party boy or girls involvement is a great excuse for messy “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” banners and fingerprints on the party bags. I try out all of my party craft ideas with my own children.
Give yourself time - plenty of time...
So, when planning a party for your child ask them what they want. And really listen. And if their request sounds a little random, go with it, it will be original. A child I know said they wanted “balls” so their mother had a ball pit, balls as decorations, anything that could be round was round; the invitation, the banner, even the sandwiches were round. The kids loved it.
If you ask what your child wants and give yourselves time, you can do any kind of party and you will not have to spend a fortune. If you want to include the children in creating things for the party you might find it takes a little longer, but by including them in the planning they won’t suddenly change their mind 3 days out saying they want a completely different party.
If your child’s idea for a party fills you with dread feel free to improvise around the theme. If your little girl says fairies and you loath pink, who says fairies are not all the colours of the rainbow. Even if they are really specific; say “Hello Kitty”; don’t give in to exasperation once you start price checking the Partyware on the internet. You could buy “Hello Kitty” napkins take 2 or 3 colours from that and everything else could co-ordinate without all those licensed party products.
Give yourselves time and don’t think of it as a one day exhaustive marathon, but as a gentle and enjoyable jog through your child’s creativity. And if, like me, in your life BC (before children) you used to be very organised in a slightly OCD project manager kind of a way have a look at the party planning documents which are free to download from our website. They should help you organise the heck out of any party!
Please, please try and enjoy the party, your child will. They will think their party is the best ever and you are the greatest parent ever for making it happen.
Ask for help. Other parents, family, older siblings, tell them what you want them to do before the party starts and be sure they are comfortable with their responsibility.
Have a plan detailing the order you are going to do things and how long they should take on the day. We’ve an example of this on our blog. If you start to run behind be flexible, drop the activity you think most complicated. Have one extra prize ready and if you have time at the end of the party play sleeping lions. You’ll be exhausted and so will they. If you have given yourselves time on the day as well as in the planning, you should be ready for anything, but if something goes wrong, probably no one will know but you.
Remember rule number one. For example, if you are no good at baking, cheat and buy cup cakes. You can buy the plain supermarket ones and decorate them, use cup-cake kits, or make decorating the cup cakes a party activity.
Don’t buy too much food, party food will often hardly get touched, it is not a sign that you are a rotten chef, the children are too excited to eat. We always put the meal in the middle of the party. If you have helpers in the kitchen, the party tea gives you time to organise the next round of party games. And we would suggest you have drinks, (and this can just be a jug of water and cups), available throughout the party, all that excited running about is a sweaty business.
When it comes to party games the oldies are the best; pass the parcel, musical bumps, musical chairs, oranges and lemons, treasure hunts etc. They can all be played and adapted to fit most themes and ages. I personally think it is still good to have winners in party games. Just think carefully about the age of the children, make sure those who don’t win still get lots of praise and have consolation prizes on hand. You can aim for every child to win something and have a big box of treats to bribe and cajol the good times.
And if you think that what you need is perfection, more time, and even more fun then get in touch with Mrs Fox firstname.lastname@example.org, www.mrsfoxs.com and order one of our party boxes. Because that is also as simple as 1, 2, 3