Having worked in events for several years before embarking upon my journalistic career, I thought I knew everything there was to be known about planning a party. Where to hold it, what to serve, who to invite and how to entertain them. But then came children… Nothing had prepared me for the pressure you feel as a mum to put on the perfect party for your offspring. Pressure not only from the little angels themselves, but from family, friends, and most importantly other kids’ mums. Do it wrong and your ranking in the mum of the year stakes at the local school falls faster than a flamingo on a unicycle. I’ve seen it happen, and it’s not pretty.
Up until now my son’s birthday celebrations have been quiet affairs – just a meal with the grandparents. But as he approached the big four we realised we couldn’t hold out much longer and agreed to a party. So, almost two months before the actual event took place, preparation began in earnest. I consulted books, emailed friends and Googled into the early hours.
Finally, the day came. Some bits went well, some not so well, and this is what I learnt:
1) Choose the right venue
Make sure you have the right space for the amount of kids you are inviting – a massive hall with just a few kids looks odd, just as too many kids in a small front room is asking for trouble. And try to allocate a separate area where parents can stand and chat without interrupting the party. We decided to serve a drinks through the kitchen hatch of the hall we hired, so the grown-ups could hover around it and catch up while the kids ran riot.
2) Pick a theme
Kids love to dress up, and a theme keeps things interesting, but keep it generic. If your child is a Batman fan – pick heroes and villains. Don’t do anything too gender specific. Not all girls want to be princesses, and some boys do! Our son is Solar System obsessed, so we had a Space Party. Give guests the option of dressing up, but don’t make it compulsory.
Picture writer’s own
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