Written by Principal Party Planner Rosie from Poppy's Parties
Leave nothing to chance.
Sometimes going with the flow is good- this is not one of those times. If you have a large room full of children who know they are at a party and are very excited and you haven’t really thought about what they’re going to do, chances are that your sophisticated soiree will quite quickly descend into utter chaos. And remember: Organised Chaos is good- unorganised chaos, bad. Even if you just have some structured entertainment for an hour, it will really help to alleviate the pressure off of yourself; if you’re planning to have a party at home, then do some research into a few easy party games. With children, time will fly, so plan for each game to last around 5 minutes to maximise fun and avoid them getting bored. I would recommend doing an activity before they eat, with more of a chilled vibe afterwards- perfect for when little tummies are full of cake.
Minimise the distractions
This is something I say a lot- children can only process so much in a short space of time, so to avoid them from getting overwhelmed, stick to one thing at a time. If you’re going to have an entertainer, save the bouncy castle for later; if you’re having a face painter, have them before the activity starts. Putting too many things in the same room just creates white noise, creating a scenario where the children only half-do a bit of everything you’ve laid on, and therefore not getting as much out of the party itself. This goes for food, too- having it out at the start of the party will be a huge distraction for children, so either wait to bring it out, or if you’re having something like a treat table then try to have it in a separate space to anything else going on.
Create a sense of excitement
It’s a great idea if you are leading party games to ‘up’ the sense of urgency- give children a set time frame to work to and keep encouraging them- we always ‘count down’ from 5 or 10 when we want them to complete a task in the party, which keeps them interested but also moved the action along nicely. Make sure you’re using your voice to keep the tempo up- if you seem excited, the children will be too, and therefore will want to engage with what you’re doing
Have something for everyone
Although it is, of course, your little one’s special day, do be aware of what your guests will like too- although I don’t like to gender stereotype, you do want to make sure that you’re providing something which appeals across the board to ensure that neither girls nor boys will switch off, and ultimately become disruptive during the party. This isn’t to say you can’t have a Fairy party for your daughter or a Minecraft party for your son- just have a think about the activities therein and try and make at least some of them as gender neutral as possible. There’s no reason why you couldn’t have a fairy tug-of-war, or a Minecraft party couldn’t involve some craft making in there- mix the games up, get creative and you’ll be sure to create a party where all the children are happy.
I am like a broken record on this one, but it really can’t be said enough- no matter how good your entertainment, or activities planned, if the children can’t hear what’s going on because parents are talking, then they won’t be able to engage. It’s really tempting to chat away at a child’s birthday party, but you have to remember that it’s their party, not yours, and if adults are talking in the background it creates a huge distraction for the children. The best tactic is either to have separate rooms for the adults (if you can), ask the adults to drop the children off and collect later, or if you do want them there then gently remind them that they do need to keep the noise down when they are there. There’s nothing wrong with politely asking friends to talk quietly at an event like this, and remember you can always crack the prosecco out after the party tea (it’s best served nicely chilled anyway).