The prospects of planning a child’s party can be daunting, particularly if you are a new mom and you want your child and guests to have a great time. Many things are often overlooked that can be quite important for the success of the party. Here are some helpful ideas on what to consider when you plan the party.
Choosing a date – Plan your party in advance and send out the invitations with plenty of notice. If you want, give each child a “save the date” card prior to sending out the invites as this will build the excitement. If your child’s birthday falls during the school holidays or over a long weekend, rather plan the party for the week before or after. Otherwise, many families could be away on holiday and many children may not be able to make it. Try to get a class list with all the children’s birthdays – if your child’s birthday falls in a month when many of the children in her class have a birthday, you may want to consider checking with the other parents when they are planning their child’s party as it would be awful to have a clash in dates.
Guest list – This can be quite tricky if you need to limit the number of guests. Many children invite their entire class to their party, but this may not always be possible in terms of venue or budget constraints. One thing you could decide to do is have an all girl or all boy party. You will also need to let your guests know if the parents may attend which is usually the norm for parties aged 5 and below. Also consider whether you want to invite the guest’s older or younger siblings, as it may not always be appropriate, depending on the type of party you plan.
Budget – Planning your party budget is, in my opinion, the key ingredient to a successful party, and I don’t mean that you need to spend a fortune! Parties may cost a lot if you start to hire the services of others or get outside catering, so if you want to go this route, plan in advance and start saving for the party expenses. Make sure that you do your homework well in advance so you know what everything is likely to cost so there are no unpleasant surprises close to the party date. Everyone wants to give their child the best party experience, but spend wisely so as not to mount up any unnecessary debt in the process.
Venue – If you are wanting to host a large party, but you live in a small dwelling like a townhouse or flat/apartment, you may need to consider hosting it in an alternative venue. There are many options of children’s party venues, or you could arrange it in a public space like a park or botanical garden. Remember to consider the season if you want an outdoor party – mid to late summer in the Cape is best for this, and avoid afternoons on the Highveld in summer due to possible thundershowers.
Safety – This is of critical importance. If you have a swimming pool at home, ensure it has a cover, net or fence around it. If you have a swimming party, make sure that a responsible adult is in charge of supervision and don’t ever leave the children unattended in the pool. If you are hosting a toddler party, make sure that there are safety gates before any staircases, and ensure that all electrical cables and plug points are covered. Remember that if you have a jumping castle or trampoline, these may not be suitable for younger children to be on together with older children. If you have your party in a outdoor public place, ensure that someone is keeping an eye out that no children go off wandering on their own.
Food – These days there seems to be a lot more food allergies than in the past. Many children may suffer from things like wheat, gluten or dairy intolerances. Also in our multi-cultural country, some of the guests may have dietary restrictions due to their religion (halaal, kosher, etc). In order to ensure you cater appropriately, ask for the parents to respond on the RSVP if there are any dietary issues you need to know about. Also on the subject of food, make sure that you cater correctly for the age groups invited to the party. You may need two menus, one for the adults, and one for the children. Even the children’s menus could differ if you have different aged children attending. You should not serve things that a small child could choke on.
Age appropriate activities – Remember to think of the age group of the children coming to the party when planning the activities. If you are hosting a movie/dvd party make sure the movie is suitable for family viewing. Even if your child is allowed to watch age restricted movies like horror movies, this could be unsuitable for the majority of the children attending the party. Also with physical activities, think of the abilities of the age of the guests. If your child can swim but many of her friends can’t, hosting a swimming party would not be appropriate. A jumping castle that may be suitable for smaller children, may not be appropriate for older children, so check up on these things before you hire them.
The best thing is to plan in advance so you can think of all the options well before the day of the party.
(photo’s taken from the Party Times blog)