Surviving kids birthday parties… this is a blog post that just had to be done. If you are like me then you will be one of those parents or caregivers who, whilst looking forward to the pending celebration, will be somewhat apprehensive of the chaos that reigns on the household when the troop of party goers arrives (and the very late night beforehand getting everything ready). My girls are now 6 and 8 so my perspective is from this viewpoint. If you also have young children then I’d love to know your top tips. If you are the parent or caregiver of older children then please comment below as I’d really love to hear any tips you have for surviving teenage birthday parties.
So, here it is… our top tips for surviving young kids birthday parties…
Reduce the guest list
In my view, smaller parties are the way to go if you are hosting the party in your home. It is just that little bit less full on and, we’ve found that our children enjoy their parties more when they have 6-10 good friends attending rather than the entire class. This is definitely something to think about when you start writing out those party invitations. If you are on a strict budget then a smaller party is easier when selecting your party supplies too (most paper plates and cups come in either 8, 10 or 12 items per pack).
Outsource (if you can)
If you live in Auckland or other large cities around NZ, you will most likely have a few options for places to hire for your kids birthday parties. This is not an option for everyone due to availability or budget but it is certainly an easy option and, more often than not, the parents get to sit back (with hot coffee in hand) whilst someone else does the work.
Birthday cakes can be a huge part of the stress caused around children’s parties. See if you can pass this to a family member who is a good baker or else there are lots of cake makers around who make amazing birthday cakes.
Keep them entertained
Keeping the kids entertained is a big one! Bored kids are grumpy kids. If you are having your party at home then hiring a party entertainer or face painter is a great option. We have done this in the past and it was really fun; leave the entertaining to the professionals! The Magic Brush offer face painting and balloon twisting services at kids birthday parties in Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton and all other main cities around NZ (they also have make up artists at Waiheke Island, Thames and The Coromandel and will travel if required). They are all professional make up artists so their work is simply stunning (perfect for teenagers and adult birthday parties – they have special fx and adult face art options too!). For children’s party entertainment, they also offer entertainers such as Cinderella, Elsa and Tinkerbell who will keep the party goers well amused while you enjoy that hot cup of coffee or glass of wine. All of the images in this blog post are examples of their work.
Another option is doing some face painting yourself. The Magic Brush also offer face painting supplies which you can purchase from their online shop. Their reasonably priced face painting starter kit is the perfect option for having a go at face painting yourself as it includes all of the essentials – face paints, brushes, a sponge, cosmetic grade glitter and a free stencil.
Try to stick to usual meal times
This might seem like a strange tip but we all know that children suffer terribly when they are hungry and you tend to see some of their worst behaviour (we use the term hangry a bit in our home). So, if you are planning a party over lunchtime then I would suggest you have them eating around midday.
Accidents will happen, don’t set up the party table over your new carpet
I have thought about this a bit of late as we have just moved into a home which was recently carpeted in a very light coloured wool carpet. As your children get older this becomes less of an issue but for youngsters, they seem to have an uncanny ability to knock over all cups within a one meter radius. Soggy party tables and stained carpet are not much fun. Over the warmer months, you have the option of setting up your party outside (remember sunscreen and shade for the kids). Over the cooler months, you could look to hold the party in your garage or else there are often halls which you can hire for kids birthday parties. Otherwise, you could look to put some mats down to protect your carpet. If you have a living area with tiles or wooden flooring then be very grateful for the stress you don’t need to feel when party drinks get knocked off the party table. Our last home had a cork tiled space in our dining area so we always set up our parties there. Spilt food and drinks were no problem!
Don’t be overly ambitious and go with the flow
I am a bit of a perfectionist and I like everything to look just so but sometimes you just have to let it go and just focus on what is possible with the time and resources you have available. If someone offers to help, accept it. If you have decided to do something a little more ambitious for the birthday cake then it can be a great idea to try it out a few weeks beforehand (I would strongly recommend this if you are wanting to work with fondant for the very first time).
Be organised and write lists
If you are a list writer like myself then this is a tip you will love. I find it really helpful to write a list of who is coming and what party food we will be having. As I write out the party food list, I start a grocery shopping list that is just for the party and add to it as I go. If you are ordering kids party supplies online then it will reduce your stress a lot more if you allow for more delivery days than required. Whilst most of our parcels are delivered overnight within the North Island and 2-3 days for the South Island of NZ (allow an extra few days for rural delivery), every so often strange things will happen with parcels. They can be misdirected or get held up somewhere or just arrive that day later than expected.
If you like to get quite detailed with your lists and organisation, you can also do things like sketch how your party table will be set up or note which serving bowls and platters will be used for each party food. If you have party decorations that require some assembly or preparation, this is great job to do many days before the party whilst watching your favourite show on TV.
Decide on a budget and stick to it
Financial stress is some of the worst stress you can feel so, if funds are tight, decide on a budget for the party and then do your best to stick to it. In my view, children remember the fun and excitement of the day and sharing it with their friends and family. You can achieve a gorgeous party on a tight budget so please ask us if you’d like some ideas.
Happy stress-free kids parties everyone!
All of the lovely images seen throughout this blog post are copyrighted to The Magic Brush.