Admittedly, my own kids parties are a production (even though they only care about the cake and party bags!) but being an event manager I love planning parties. However, if the thought of holding a kids party is enough to make you reach for the valium, there are ways to keep it simple so you can enjoy the day too.
The first thing is the planning. Start a month in advance and have a checklist. I just have one page, starting with the guest list then headings for games, food, decorations, party bags, etc. with lists under each one of what I plan to do on the day and what I need to do leading up to the day. I always hold afternoon parties to give me the day to prep and do whatever I can the week or day before, e.g. party bags, decorations, food, etc.
Secondly don’t invite more than the number of kids you are comfortable with, especially if you want to make it personal or within a budget. 10 to 15 kids is a good number to manage, especially if doing party games, plus party supplies always seem to come in lots of 8 or 12! Also bear in mind things like entertainers when considering who to invite – not many of them will take on more than 20 kids.
Third is entertainment, which parents seem to stress about and outsource the most. For kids under 5, I suggest saving your money and letting them just play in an area in your home or the local park. Consider how much you want them occupied, e.g. if you are getting a face painter, do you have something the kids can do whilst they are waiting, like a craft activity? Are you happy for them to bounce on a castle in the backyard or do they need supervision? If you prefer them to be occupied and engaged then consider interactive games. It’s also good to allow them some free time to just hang out with their friends because that’s really what it’s about for them.
Fourth is the food. If you are allergic to your kitchen like me then stick with platters that can be served cold or heated and put out at the beginning of the party so you don’t have to go back to the kitchen. Also, rather than trying to make your food to fit the theme, serve it on coloured platters that match the theme rather. And make your rubbish bins handy.
Finally, delegate or outsource where you can. I organise catering or family to bring food then get one of them to keep an eye on it. My husband is in charge of drinks, we all take it in turns running games and another family member takes photos. That way I actually get to spend time with my kids, family and friends rather than being stuck in the kitchen or stressed out trying to do everything.
Michelle is the founder of Ezy Kids Parties which offers party services across the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane and the Gold Coast, in over 20 themes. We love to keep kids entertained and parents stress, making every child’s birthday full of good old fashion fun and wonderful memories.
PS mums can download our complete party checklist for free here.