Guide to help parents organising children's birthday parties

It can be the best day of your life or the worst: the only difference between the two is organisation. We have had years of experience in organising or theme parties, so read on and let us tell you our secrets!

First things first, it's invitation time.

  • Don't invite too many children. Often when something goes wrong, it's because there are simply too many children to control.
  • Make kids parties an adult-free zone! If you let the parents come to the party, you'll find yourself having to entertain them, too - and adults take up a lot of space! The golden rule of children's birthday parties is that they're for children only, so make sure you write it on the invite!
  • Don't invite the school trouble maker. You may feel like being nice but the odds are they will spoil the party for everyone.
  • Finally, make a point of highlighting the party start time and duration - there's always someone who gets it wrong. You want them there on the dot, so remember - party organising is a military operation, especially kids parties

Next on the agenda: games

Firstly, let's look at the things you DON'T want to do at kids parties:
  • Games which involve long periods of sitting around
  • Games where some children are put "out" after a minute, and have to spend the rest of the time sitting around, getting bored, and watching other kids enjoy themselves.
  • Too many games with no gaps in between

Follow these three simple rules, and you'll find it much easier to deal with the "but I don't wanna play" brigade at children's birthday parties. Speaking of which, there may come a time where you have to put your foot down and insist that everyone joins in: they'll thank you for it in the end. Try, however, to be sensitive to the needs of the children at the party. If someone really doesn't want to play for some reason, don't force them.

Keeping the kids all in one group really will make your job a lot easier. To do this effectively you need to take a few phrases out of your vocabulary for the duration of the party. Forget about saying "who would like to play?" or "shall we?" Get into the habit of being a bit more direct, with phrases like "right kids; gather round, we are going to..." Take control - you are the boss!

The type of games you choose doesn't matter too much as long as you don't break the rules mentioned at the beginning of this section. The old classics such as musical chairs, pass the parcel etc still go down well, but be as inventive as you like. Whatever you do, though, don't make the prize something edible, or when it's time to eat, no will have an appetite. Food prizes will also distract the child when you're trying to play theme games, and make them less interested in the goodie-bag you give them when they leave.

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