Just the thought of birthday party planning can send many parents into a spin. Thinking to save the house from the rumble and tumble you would expect from super active kids, many opt to hold the party at a park.
But in fact, rushing off to the park to save your house from the juvenile demolition team is a knee-jerk response that often brings more problems than solutions.
So what do you do?
First, STAY CALM!
Organizing a 4- to 7-year-old’s party is very simple if you understand the needs and dynamics of those who will attend.
There are four main stakeholders at a birthday party:
the birthday child
his or her parents
the invited children
and their parents.
Here are what they want:
The birthday child wants to be king or queen for the day and get presents—lots of presents.
The hosting parents want no stress and no mess.
The visiting children want to be entertained and active. They are not interested in food.
Their parents want to be able to drop them off and run, or for everything to end as quickly as possible.
Easy — channel their energy. With the money you saved by keeping the food simple, get a professional entertainer who knows how to skillfully harness their energy for good, not evil.
My suggestion, of course, is a professional magicienne! Me! I’ve been doing this for over 12 years now!
I also offer balloon art either after the magic show or as stand-alone entertainment!
Keeping this in mind, the optimum length for a party is 2 hours. This length fits the attention span of kids, allows parents to slip away to run an errand or two, and is manageable for the host family.
The best times to start the party are 10 AM, 12 noon and 2 PM. Why? These are natural mealtimes. Parents can give their children a quick nutritious meal before they arrive to keep them going until the party food is served later on.
Remember, children are not interested in wonderful arrays of designer food. They want chips, burgers or pizza and a drink that they can grab and run with. Sit-down affairs with fancy nutritious food feel too much like school.
So save yourself the time, money and stress and fill paper bowls with snack foods from the supermarket. Kids do not even need fizzy soft drinks. They are happy to wash down the treats with a water.
So far you have saved your furniture from half-eaten food and drinks, but what about the rest of the time those rampaging hordes will spend running around inside your beautiful home?
Your party schedule could run like this:
00:00 Guests arrive, finger food out, simple games, last of latecomers arrive.
00:30 Entertainment begins.
01:15 Entertainment ends. Toilet breaks, etc.
01:25 Singing of the song, blowing out of the candles, cutting of the cake, eating and giving of gifts.
01:40 Simple party game, or even balloon entertainment.
01:55 Party bags given out, lost shoes found.
02:00 Wave goodbye.
At the end of the event, your home has survived, your emotional health is intact, and you have delayed any bad behavior until the children are on their way home with their parents! Glad I could help!