What You Really Need To Know About Running A Kids Party

Birthday candles

So they day has finally arrived when you have to run your first children's party. The local leisure centres are all booked up and you can't find an available entertainer for love nor money. Here is 'running your own kids party for beginners'.

Firstly don't worry. If you stick a group of kids in a room together with balloons and toys, feed them junk food and fizzy pop, send them home with a balloon, a party bag and a slice of cake they will all feel that they have had a good time. So anything else just puts a bit of polish on that.

  1. Invitations. Don't invite the whole of your child's class. Apart from making you appear desperate to impress, you probably don't have the space and can't cope with that many children. Remember teachers have 3 years of training before they are left looking after 30 kids.
  2. Information you must include on the invitations: - The day, date and time of the party. The full address of the venue, and your phone number. Make sure people know if you want a reply. Sadly, my experience suggests that few people understand the meaning of RSVP any more and adding a tear-off slip is also a bit too subtle for some. If the party is during a school holiday, you might want to highlight that, otherwise at least one person won't realise and will decline on the grounds that it clashes with nursery/playgroup/school.
  3. Anyone who does not reply to the invitation will probably not turn up for the party, even if they accept when you speak to them them. If their mother is too dozy or disorganised to reply they will probably be too dozy or disorganised to remember their kid is going to a party.
  4. Now be honest with yourself; and if you have no experience of looking after a group of children, get a friend who loves kids to help you with the party. They will know how to get the kids to join in and will happily start an impromptu game of Simple Simon if things start to flag.
  5. Plan lots more games that you think you have time for. And then be prepared to improvise by reading them a story when you run out of things to do. Make the first game a lively joining in game like 'musical statues'. This will help the shy ones get warmed up. Be flexible. Be prepared to ditch a game that is not working out.
  6. Make sure everybody wins at least one prize. Save one game until the end for which you can choose the winners, such as sleeping lions. Then anyone who has not won anything can be the best at lying still with their eyes shut. And the other kids will never know.
  7. Don't serve any salad at the party. No-one will eat it. (This goes for most grown-up parties too!
  8. Remember to get a party bag for your own child as well as for the guests, or there will be tears, I promise....

About the Author: Jacqui O'Brien is the Editor of eParenting.

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