By Caroline Johnstone who worked for corporates for 20 years. One day she told her boss, ‘maybe I will host fairy parties.’ So began her dream of running Fairy Time, her own party planning company.
I believe it can be rather stressful planning a party and it really shouldn’t be anything but joyous and fun. Here are some tips:
Always take your child’s personality/character into consideration when planning.
- If you usually host large parties, your child may not be overwhelmed by the amount of people. Otherwise you may need to consider a smaller party.
- Prepare your child to manage welcoming and thanking all their guests as they arrive. Find a suitable place to keep the gifts.
- Do you have enough help? Guests may arrive at different times & you would need to welcome them.
- Venues: When selecting a venue, think about all the requirements:
- swimming pool: is it fenced in?
- parking- is there sufficient parking for all?
- space: do you have sufficient space?
- rain: is there a covered area in case of rain?
- nursery school: some nursery schools are grateful for extra money & hire out venue over weekend for a party booking. If your child attends that nursery school, it will be familiar surroundings too.
- Directions: if your home/party venue is tricky to find or is a boomed-in area, it is helpful to include a map on invitation. It is also helpful to guests to place a few balloons at your entrance.
- Try not to hype your child up too much before the event:
- afternoon party: small kids are tired as they have woken up early due to too much excitement.
- Unforeseen circumstances occur too, so rather do not detail all you have planned to avoid disappointment… Rather let it be a surprise!
- Small children – aged 3 years or less: host a morning party as they are too tired later in the day. For 3 year olds, it is too much to process when you host at a venue they are not familiar with, provide a jumping castle & entertainers.
- Dress-up party: rather do not set out your own kid’s costumes. Smaller kids seem to get upset if friends are wearing their wings & won’t take them off! I have seen kids pull on dresses from either side as there are not enough for all.
- Entertainment: if you have external party planners offering a program of events – less is better. Jumping castle, magician & fairy entertainers would be too much for a 5 year old’s party. When there are too many activities, it divides the party.
- Entertainers: provide as much information as possible to entertainers so they can provide the best experience & meet expectations. e.g. shy or dramatic child
- Etiquette: When attending other kid’s parties & there is entertainment planned, try not to arrive late. Children take a little while to slot into the activities & they may not be able to adjust quickly enough to enjoy the experience & may miss out on gifts.
- RSVP’s: Bear in mind that some people may RSVP & then not arrive. Sometimes it is unforeseen such as illness etc. Kids that you have invited may very well bring siblings too.
- If you book an external venue such as a tea party: stipulate on invitation that unfortunately you are not able to include siblings (if siblings are not invited) as the venue only accommodates x amount of guests.
- Be aware of children attending the party that may be allergic/not able to certain foods. Do your best to cater for those children’s’ requirements – think kosher, Halaal, gluten-free.
- Eats: do not provide too many sugary foods/drinks for kids. You would want to avoid a sugar high & kids are more difficult to manage. Rather provide healthier foods like small bottles of water, pieces of fresh fruit & cake at the end.
- Birthday cake: only bring out later when you are about to sing happy birthday as kids tend to touch the characters on the cake. Don’t forget candles & matches!
- Same prizes for boys & girls works best if children are similar ages.
- Ensure that each child gets a prize.
Keep checking yourself as you plan to see whether what you’re planning is for your child or for yourself so that you don’t overdo anything or leave anything out.